The industry around space is growing with both the government and entrepreneurship sectors getting their hands on it. An announcement entitled “Think big, take risks, innovate!” calls for entrepreneurs to work together with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
The NRO’s mission is this – to design spy satellites, build and then launch them. With their advertisement, they’ve wanting to hear the pitches from entrepreneurs and companies with innovative technologies and ideas that have potential to pay off.
The agency is promising entrepreneurs with an environment for investment that is tolerant of risk. The NRA is right now leading the way in utilizing the commercial industry in terms of space technology. The institution is obviously faster to act than the Defense Department that is usually burdened by obscure methods of procurement.
On the other hand, there is the U.S. Air Force that wants to move quickly and get their chips into the new space race. The institution controls 90 percent of the space programs of the military and has its plans out to the public.
One of its plans includes replacing legacy constellations with systems that are more modern and resilient. Another one is to use more commercial launch services for reduction of costs as well as shortened schedules. To realize its goals, the institution is working closely with the National Reconnaissance Office.
Today, the military shows increased interest in whatever private companies are doing regarding space. However, there is a wide gap between their “legacy” and today’s “new space.” It has been long and grueling ride changing the military’s procurement culture, this according to Bill Gattle of the Space and Intelligence Systems of Harris Corporation.
The government built its own technologies for many years. Commercial companies then began to come in, bringing with them satellite and launch services, spacecraft and more. The government didn’t believe this was possible, at first.
The government, particularly the military, sees how space is a grave infrastructure. They witnessed a fundamental shift, which caused the intelligence agency and Department of Defense to take the space matter more seriously.
Space moved as a priority in the military ladder and at the same time, commercial activity took up speed. The launches, startups and all other space ideas that keeps coming up these days are evidence of that.
Compared to those in the past, the main difference in today’s space industry lies in technology. Techs like microelectronics and small satellites made space exploration easier and more interesting. Things like CubeSats that can do communications and imagery put up more money for exploration with investors that keep on lining up.