The Space Force Accelerator Program connects the entrepreneurial startup community with the U.S. Space Force.
So, what partnership opportunities exist?
In a recent live presentation, a Tech Briefs reader had the following question for Gabe Mounce, Director of the Space Force Accelerator Program, headquartered at the Air Force Research Lab:
"What near-term, space-related markets do you see developing as the U.S. Space Force and other nations' space capabilities advance due to the private sector?"
Read Mounce's edited response below.
Mounce: There are three markets that we're looking at. There is a bigger program running under the Space Force, under this new SpaceWERX office, called Space Prime , and the Prime Initiative is about "priming the pump" on a nascent commercial market that might have applications and implications for U.S. national security.
With some of the analysis that we've been doing for that program, it looks like there's an immediate market around what we're calling "hybrid" data transport. As launch costs continue to drop, we're going to see a lot more providers, if you will, and that includes large and small companies, fielding [satellite] constellations, mainly in low Earth orbit, around data movement.
An Achilles' heel for a long time in space has been getting the information that satellites sense, whether it's remote sensing to the ground or remote sensing of the Earth. Connectivity at times is kind of trapped in that space layer, because the bandwidth to get it to the ground is somewhat limited. But as artificial intelligence grows, as onboard computing itself and the computing architectures across the board increase, we expect to see a lot more of that being flown in space. What that enables is to have the whole Internet layer, if you will, to move up into the space layer. The Internet layer will now be more of a combo between what the Earth network provides and what a space network provides.
We see an immediate market in this data transport: How do you flow data within this space layer, between satellites, for instance, in a constellation? Or perhaps between two separate companies, and their own constellations? And then how do you parse that information and transport it back to Earth, and utilize whatever information is being collected and stored in space?
We also are expecting to see another market start to grow, one with some geopolitics, regulations, and legal issues involved. As more and more satellites get fielded into low Earth orbit, we're starting to see a lot more congestion in that orbit regime, which means that there is going to be a desire and a need to make sure that we're keeping space traffic lanes open. We see the fact that there may have to be a more considered effort in space traffic management to include what do we do on-orbit in the regime of logistics, servicing, maybe even on-orbit manufacturing, or debris remediation , for instance, to keep those traffic lanes clear, to allow further space capability to be fielded.
And then:" "How do you advance power on satellite systems?" Right now most of the power is provided by solar, but there are new novel technologies that we're seeing that could be helpful. What other kinds of tech do we need to see out there that could be a market for on-orbit, advanced power regimes?
What markets do you see for the private sector? Share your questions and comments below.