The New Space Economy
The space economy is headed for a boom. With growing interests (and financing) from venture capitalists, capital investments and the government, it’s projected that the space economy could become a trillion-dollar field by 2040. Recently, Motiv’s Vice President of Business Development, Tom McCarthy, was interviewed by Satellite Evolution Global about the emerging space economy and how Motiv plans to help.
McCarthy feels that this emerging space economy is “something of a revolution.” While some of the boom is being driven by competition, the majority of it is coming from the historical collaboration of commercial industries and the government. With these two areas coming together, it creates the opportunity for public and private partnerships to build something greater in space than we have previously been able to build. NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program is the perfect example of this, with NASA contracting several American companies to deliver innovative science and technology to the lunar surface. These contracts with commercial companies hold the ability to build upon and use technologies that have otherwise been gathering dust. “We need [these] types of programs to accelerate development, and we’re passionate about assisting their orchestration,” McCarthy stated.
To help programs like CLPS, Motiv has worked to position itself as an enabling member of the new space industry. The company is working toward this by enabling missions and partners to meet their potential by integrating Motiv technology. “The technologies that we develop and integrate are best suited to pushing scientific and industrial advancement forward,” said McCarthy. Just take Motiv’s robotic arm on NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover: With the arm, Perseverance will be the first rover to collect samples from Mars. Motiv has also adapted many of those same technologies to its xLink, which is targeted toward commercial applications, further bridging the gap between commercial and government programs. Efforts like these show the amazing results that are possible when public and private expertise intersect in the space economy.
But the robotics that is currently being developed is capable of having a reach far beyond just Mars. “Right now, some of the biggest opportunities are in space construction, services, inspection and planetary observation,” noted McCarthy. As a result, adaptable solutions are being developed, increasing the capability of missions and growing the potential of the space economy. “On the Moon, for example … it experiences extremes in temperatures … Those circumstances mean some systems can only operate during lunar day times, so we’re working to develop systems that can run day and night up there with full operational efficiency,” McCarthy explained. Building out versatile robotics like these means Motiv can support more projects, including NASA’s Artemis missions and the eventual colonization of the moon. As the demand grows for more missions, so too will the demand for technology, including tools such as landing pads, habitats and power generation systems. Ultimately, the more responsive tools that are engineered and used, the better positioned humanity is for the exploration of space.
This increased exploration of space is part of why Motiv does what it does — and plans to do for a while. “Our long-time goal is to be an enabler for the space development ecosystem that’s coming together ever more successfully,” concluded McCarthy. “We’re looking to evolve some of the paradigms of the past … we believe there are technologies that can be exploited to enable mission architects more flexibility and capability.” With Motiv creating affordable robotic infrastructure for space, it means new systems have the opportunity to be connected to new ventures, leading to new discoveries and a new era of space. Read the full interview by downloading the PDF from Satellite Evolution Group.
Learn more about Motiv’s role in supporting CLPS for the Artemis mission.