'Billionaires in Space' Is Boring; 2022 Will See Entire Industries Go Galactic
GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota

'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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Jolene Latimer has her Master of Arts in specialized journalism and writes about sports, entertainment and personal finance.
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Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.