SAN FRANCISCO – A Deloitte Space report released June 14 encourages companies in all industries to draft long-term space strategies.
“In previous decades, a thoughtfully developed tech strategy became a competitive imperative,” according to the “xTech Futures: SpaceTech” report. “Similarly, over the coming decades, companies across all industries will increasingly need to consider whether a space strategy will be a key component of their future.”
While many companies will continue to build and launch spacecraft, others will support the space sector or consume space-related products and services.
“For many businesses, the space economy’s greatest value will come in the form of satellite communications, navigation and data,” the report noted.
Here, Near and There
The Deloitte report describes space benefits hear, near and there. Here refers to terrestrial benefits. Near means in Earth orbit. There refers to deep space and its potential rewards including scientific advances, economic activity and natural resources.
“Space is here today,” Brett Loubert, who leads Deloitte Space, told SpaceNews. “A lot of people look at the space industry and they concentrate very heavily on tourism or the most bombastic or splash-worthy parts of the industry.”
In contrast, the Deloitte report underscores the increasing affordability of space launch and the widespread availability of space services.
“From agriculture companies using satellite data to optimize crop yields to pharmaceutical companies using the advantages of microgravity to develop lifesaving solutions, we’ll demonstrate how industries can leapfrog to the next opportunity by leveraging space-based technology advances and providing products and services to the growing space industry,” the report said.
Commercial Space Resources
Once commercial space stations begin operating, a company interested in on-orbit manufacturing or conducting research in microgravity would not need to build and launch its own space station.
“Nor would it necessarily have to compete for space on a government space station,” Loubert said. “It could potentially go to a commercial provider and use their lab space on an as-a-service model,” he added.
In the longer term, Deloitte anticipates a gold rush for space resources. The lunar regolith contains water and other valuable materials. The report noted, though, that countries still need to grapple with the question of regulating celestial resource extraction.
The Human Problem
Additional problems noted in the report include space debris and “the human problem,” the challenge of ensuring the physical and mental well-being of astronauts exposed to heightened levels of radiation and differing levels of gravity.
“People evolved for life here on Earth, but the conditions we will encounter in space are completely alien,” the report noted.