Commercial space is such a vibrant and dynamic industry that it’s hard to define. It includes multinational corporations that have been around for decades, billionaire astropreneurs, myriad component suppliers and startups so new they remain in “stealth mode” with mysterious websites or none at all.
What is clear is that the commercial space sector continues to dominate the market. In 2016, commercial space activities generated $253 billion, just over three-quarters of the global space industry’s $329 billion revenues while government space budgets accounted for about $76 billion, or 24 percent of the total, according to the Space Foundation.

Analysts anticipate growth in the commercial sector to remain strong as customers clamor for mobile internet services, suborbital or orbital rides for people and payloads, data derived from satellite imagery, lucrative space resources and on-orbit facilities or services.
On the eve of the Space Commerce Conference and Exposition in Houston Dec. 5 -7, SpaceNews is highlighting a handful of innovative ways companies are using space technology to solve manufacturing, agriculture, energy, maritime and medical problems.

See stories:

Additive Manufacturing |  Made In Space turns to On-orbit Metal Manufacturing

Agriculture | The Climate Corporation offers satellite and aerial imagery to help farmers manage crops

Energy | Iridium satellites help utilities keep tabs on high-voltage power lines

Maritime | KVH turns to Intelsat EpicNG to speed up maritime broadband service

Medical | Puerto Rico turns to inflatable satellite antennas for communications

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...