Space travel is becoming a reality at the speed of light. By the end of 2018, the cumulative investments reached close to $18 billion with more than $3 billion being invested the same year. Last year saw a whopping 29% rise in space equity investments. Thanks to venture capitalists, numerous space travel start-ups are budding across the globe and inspiring the dreams of private citizens doing the literal “moonwalk”. Are you excited about a possible space vacation? Then let us take you into a small preview of the future of space travel.
Space travel is no longer a monopoly. Several small but significant players have come to the forefront to redefine the accessibility and feasibility of the entire process. What was once an abstract daydream is soon about to become a reality. The high diversification of the investment in space equity is a standing proof of the fact.
Space Angels dubbed 2018 as the “year of the Small Launch,” and it is believed that 2019 will be the “Year of Commercial Space Travel.” Big names like SpaceX, Boeing, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin have already taken the first steps towards flying private citizens into suborbital space. However, we are more fascinated by the endeavors of the new and small start-ups, who have made their mark on the space travel landscape within little time.
Here’s all you need to know about the top 9 tech startups that will take you to the moon and back within the next few years –
When anyone begins to talk about tech startups that can take private citizens into space, Axiom Space comes out at the top. Their only mission is to make the travel between the land and earth’s orbit as common as taking the ferry from the mainland and back. It will make living and working on the Earth’s orbit easy.
Axiom aims to fill in the shoes that ISS left behind. The startup’s goal is to create a commercial space station that can host government astronauts, researchers, private companies and space travelers alike.
Currently, the startup is collecting massive volumes of data from the remote VRcontrolled machine learning avatar, Human. Their primary focus is on the bio-hazardous jobs on earth that can be shifted to space. According to SpaceVR, Human will become the future of space exploration after the AI successfully interprets the humongous loads of data collected. According to the experts, it can be possible to maintain one astronaut in space for just $1 million per year, as opposed to the $200 million per year the government agencies spend now.
Vector is breaking down the boundaries between the elites and the middle-class all over again. This time, the notion is space travel. It does not have to be foray of the prosperous any more. Vector Space allows the customers to focus on the applications and build enterprises using technologies available in space, instead of worrying about the space hardware and underlying launch. It aims to provide low-cost access to the orbit.
Virgin Orbit provides responsive, dedicated and affordable launch services for private and small satellites. Although it was founded by Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company are the two startups that are opening the doors of space travel for the next generations.
Firefly Space Systems
Firefly has dedicated teams of aerospace engineers and scientists, who are working towards developing low-cost, and high-performance launchers for small satellites. The highly experienced staff is predominantly made up of engineers and researchers who were working at NewSpace companies like Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and SpaceX. The principal team gives Firefly Space Systems an edge that the other startups did not have at the time of their launch.
In a joined effort by the companies Axiom Space, New Space, Cohu Experience, Fun Academy and Edge of Space. They have launched a public contest to find the eligible private citizen, who will be sent on a space vacation sponsored by Space Nation, Finland. However, the trip is less likely to be a vacation and more likely to be a work trip, since the final winner of the contest will be taught how to perform repair work and other tasks in space.
Deep Space Industries
Asteroid mining is becoming inevitable as the sources of non-renewable forms of energy and minerals are depleted every day by man. DSI is the only startup on the list that is interested in mining for precious and semi-precious metals, fuel and other useful chemical and metallic resources from the Near Earth Asteroids (NEA). It is a unique idea that has the complete potential of contributing to a greener earth. 2019 has brought us one step closer to asteroid mining with a Japanese probe landing on an asteroid Ryugu.
This company was founded in 2011 by Paul G. Allen. The subsidiary company, Stratolaunch has been working towards an affordable and flexible model for small-scale orbital launches since the date of establishment. They aim at perfecting the deployment of small payloads into the Low-Earth Orbits (LEO) using specially designed, high-atmospheric planes. It will cut down the cost of sending satellites to the orbit as well as make it easier to carry supplies to all future space stations.
The Rocket Lab is an American-New Zealand joint venture that sent the first Electron Rocket for testing back in 2017. They have even developed their own engine – a 4600 LBF, turbo-pumped LOX/RP-1 Rutherford. They have raised an impressive amount in investments from venture capitalists across the world. They have made frequent and successful launches a reality with 24 satellite launches between 2017 and 2019.
These start-ups are the future of space travel for humanity. There might come a time when instead of flying to Madagascar people will fly to the Moon for a change of scenery. Orbiting around the world is quite literally the out-of-the-world experience that soon thousands will be able to afford and experience.
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