Emerging Markets, Focus Points & Collaboration
One of the emerging markets that not many are familiar with is the initialization of the lunar market. But first lets take a step back, I like to say that commercial innovation is driven by competition… Richard Branson yesterday posted on social media, that “When you spark innovation in any field it will create & blossom into revolutionary breakthroughs in other fields.” A great example of this is the Orteig Prize, where competitors had to fly non-stop from New York to Paris back in 1919. The prize was won 8 years later by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. And I like to consider this being a major milestone in the commercial aviation industry, giving us the capability to travel around the globe today. Another example is the Ansari XPRIZE with the goal to launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space twice within a week. The prize was won by the Tier One Project using the experimental space-plane SpaceShipOne. This now has sparked the interest for people to fly in soon to be commercially available suborbital flights for entertainment or experimental purposes with the Lynx spacecraft from XCOR Aerospace or even SpaceShipTwo from Virgin Galactic. Today the Google Lunar XPRIZE is underway and both Earthrise Space and AngelicvM are pursing the prize and launch their spacecraft by the end of 2015.
In my opinion, this competition can be seen as a catalyst for the lunar market, which has an estimated potential of $2.4B in the next 8 years, technologies to send manned and unmanned systems back to the lunar surface can be utilized to explore other astronomical bodies. In-Situ or “On Site” resource prospecting can teach us how to survive and live in harsh environments and new capabilities may be derived for applications here on Earth. The Moon is also rich with platinum grade precious metals, which will lead to mining on the Moon, and it also contains different sources of energy such as Helium3 and water. Technologies to take advantage of Helium3 have not been created yet, but we can certainly use the water to create rocket fuel, and we can also use the lunar soil to protect astronauts from radiation and create heat shields for re-entry when coming back to Earth. These are just a few ideas that will blossom into revolutionary breakthroughs.
This was part of a discussion from the Global Aerospace Summit held this year in Abu Dhabi.