What is a space business?

There is much excitement about private companies becoming more active in the space sector. But what can new space startups really offer?

When people think of space companies they often think about developing space technologies such as microsatellites, launch vehicles, specialized software and rovers to name a few. Companies like SpaceX and Planet Labs are popular examples that come to mind. Developing better, cheaper space technology is an exciting challenge after all.

But are space startups limited to the development of space technologies? Absolutely not!

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At StartupWeekend Space we believe that anyone can be a space entrepreneur. In addition to innovations in space technology we want to find new ways to use space data. To achieve this we need input from people outside the space community: artists, designers, economists, developers, doctors, lawyers, and many others.

One significant opportunity for entrepreneurs is in finding new space applications. In the broadest sense, space applications is about finding ways to apply data generated by space assets, such as from satellites and space stations, to solve problems here on Earth.

In 2013, the OECD published a report valuing the global space economy at USD 256.2 billion:

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The largest segment – consumer services – includes actors who rely on satellite services for part of their revenue but who are not part of the space community.

The most common applications take advantage of one, or a combination, of three key satellite services: remote sensing, communications and navigation. Some examples include an app by Viridian Raven that uses remote sensing data to measure global insect-related forest damage and a low-powered location tracker by StickNTrack to track and manage valuable assets.

There are also other creative ways to be a space entrepreneur, as is the case for StartupWeekend Space: Bremen co-lead Sebastian Marcu who founded Design & Data GmbH – a crossmedia services company that exclusively services space agencies and private space companies. His company produced a popular video series for the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission.

Whether you have an idea of how space can help your field, or how your field can benefit the space sector, the key point is that a good idea can come from anyone. StartupWeekend Space is your opportunity to present ideas and to work in teams to develop the best ones into viable space startups.

So what can a space startup really offer? The better question is what can YOU really offer.

Are you interested in trying your hand in space business? Come out to the first Startup Weekend Space in China in Shanghai on April 10-12th, 2015. Register at: https://yoopay.cn/event/swshspace

Need more inspiration? Check out these links:

  • NASA Spinoff Homepage – a database of commercial products and services developed with the help of NASA and applied outside the space sector.