'Billionaires in Space' Is Boring; 2022 Will See Entire Industries Go Galactic
This last year was a watershed for the commercial space economy. An incredible amount of capital was invested in the new aerospace economy, surpassing the likes of legacy space heavyweights Boeing and Airbus. The year saw incredible financial exits from California-based companies Momentus, Planet, Rocket Lab and Astra, among others (Long Beach-based Virgin Orbit is set to go public in 2022). And it captured the public’s attention with billionaires floating in microgravity.
The ensuing media made instant celebrities of space-tech leaders and spurred investors across industries to begin considering how research and development in space could benefit them and their companies.
Commercial space players, now beholden to the public following the SPAC craze, will do their best to keep their promises and survive in a Wild West marketplace where only the best survive.
In 2022, space will bring yet unimagined benefits back to Earth and dramatically reshape other industries. In recent years, aerospace research has brought us civilization defining technologies like Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and GPS. 2022 will open a new chapter of consumer connectivity, introducing a DirectTV-meets-high-speed internet that will remove the physical barriers of work, inviting entrepreneurship by anyone, regardless of where they live. The boundaries of biotech and fiber-optic manufacturing will expand as manufacturing in space industrializes. And a new level of data analytics, once available only to powerful governments, will allow scientists and entrepreneurs to better observe Earth and unlock value for companies and individuals around the world.
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Elizabeth Reynolds is the program director for SCALE, Starburst's early-stage accelerator in Los Angeles and responsible for building out early-stage programming globally.