Smallsat propulsion is undergoing a revolution

New Space startups are bringing innovative in-space propulsion systems to a satellite market that’s being rapidly redefined by small satellites. Advancements in propulsion systems have given rise to a fresh class of thrusters that are smaller, more efficient, cost less and are easily scalable. “What we’re seeing right now is a reasonably large disruption in the propulsion community and in the satellite industry,” said Dr. Alex Reissner, founder and CEO
launch costs

Lowered launch costs will impact ‘nearly every industry’ on Earth

Lower launch costs are driving new opportunities in space that’ll impact nearly every industry on Earth, according to a report from Deloitte. Principal analyst Bill Beyer, who authored the report, argues that advances in manufacturing processes, computing electronics and other technologies, coupled with lower launch costs, are fueling the global democratization of space access and fundamentally changing the commercial space landscape. “The business opportunities for companies in space could include
lunar missions

The new era of commercial lunar missions has arrived

NOTE: This story originally appeared in the Low Down, our free weekly ebrief. Subscribe for FREE to receive our take on the latest news, enabling tech and emerging markets in the commercial space sector each week. SpaceX’s announcement September 17 of its first passenger tourist for a flyby mission to the Moon marks an important step in the evolving commercial space sector. While there are plenty of unanswered questions around
commercial space, space settlement

The new vision for commercial space in US slowly coming together

Fifteen months after President Trump reinstated the National Space Council, the White House’s new vision for American leadership in commercial space is slowly beginning to come together. The White House is hoping to lean on commercial space partners for future development of low Earth orbit, while NASA shifts its focus to deep space exploration. The refocus was codified in a policy directive from the White House that aims to establish

A smallsat bubble? The promises and pitfalls of the smallsat hype

Small satellite constellations, with improved radio chips and smaller electronics, have been touted as a cost-effective solution to meet the rising demand for connectivity around the globe. Small satellites have emerged as a major force in the past few years, driving change – and disruption – within a satellite industry dominated by large, custom spacecraft and expensive launches. But veterans of the commercial space sector will do well to remember the

China’s big important commercial space milestone

i-Space launched its first commercial payloads into space on September 5, in what marks a new important milestone in China's space race. News about the launch in the US was sandwiched between two other China-based announcements – one from LandSpace and another from OneSpace. But the i-Space launch was different. i-Space is one of the few commercial space companies in China that have emerged over the past few years. The

Launch U standard could help ease launch bottleneck for small sats

The Aerospace Corp’s proposed standards for satellites under 500 kg could help reduce the launch bottleneck for the rideshare market, if the industry can reach consensus on it. Aerospace Corp released its Launch Unit (Launch-U) small satellite form factor proposal earlier this month. The standard is the result of a year’s worth of work between Aerospace Corp, government officials, satellite manufacturers, launch brokers and launch vehicle providers, including SpaceX, ULA,

Commercial astronaut training centers find new customers

Space tourism is still a few years away, but commercial astronaut training centers are finding new customers amid shifts in the wider, growing space economy. In the US, there are a handful of companies that are hoping to bring space tourism to the masses – or at least a larger pool of wealthy citizens. The furthest along are Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, both of which are planning space tourism services

Big rocket builders are skeptical small launchers will find customers

As the pool of small launch vehicles grows, larger launch providers continue to express skepticism about whether the new crop of small vehicle startups will have enough customers to sustain them and their business models. Small launch vehicles promise to further reduce barriers of entry to space for non-traditional customers by offering dedicated launches for lighter payloads at lower price points. But incumbent providers SpaceX, ULA and others – which

US space policy landscape is about to change dramatically

U.S. space policy and regulation is in the midst of a massive evolution, as the Trump administration continues to reorganize aspects of space governance away from the centralized regime that dominated the last century, and in favor of private enterprise and the burgeoning commercial space sector. The recent commotion around NASA’s Resource Prospector mission is case in point: Months after president Trump directed NASA to return to the Moon, members