The game changer for access to space will be humanity moving away from the use of chemical rockets to get into orbit. The disrupters to the space industry will be the ones that perfect the alternative technologies.
Orbital ATK is one of the commercial providers of transport services to the International Space Station (ISS) with its Cygnus spacecraft.
Helping drive space innovation in New Zealand is Space Base and their New Zealand Space Challenge.
Space exploration drives a lot of technological development that has spinoffs for Earth-bound applications.
The Chinese Tiangong-1 space station is predicted to conduct an uncontrolled re-entry sometime during 1 April 2018, NZ time.
Asteroid mining is seen as a lucrative source of income and, on the surface, it appears to be a way of accessing almost limitless resources. It’s not that simple though, it’s difficult, expensive and at the edge of our technological ability. But it won’t be that way forever.
The US has two options for getting to Mars within the next decade and a half with the ambitious plans from SpaceX and the more risk adverse plans of NASA. Both Russia and China also have some plans for Mars and have design work underway to build large rockets to support missions to Mars and to the Moon.
The price of access to space is changing and this combined with rise of CubeSats and more powerful sensors that can do more for less cost, in both money and weight, is opening up a lot of options that have not been available before.
This article looks at the events that led to the creation of NASA from the context of exploring the role of a national space agency.
and what can we do about it?