A new space race is forming globally, energized by venture capital and the hype around companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. The privately-funded space industry is still in its infancy, but there has been an explosion of startups and investors in the sector, and the fever has, in the last few years, spread to Europe. The development of SpaceTech startups will be crucial to the advancement of services we have come to rely on in our daily lives, be it navigation, delivery services or more.
For the past ten years, the SpaceTech sector has seen over $9 billion invested in it, roughly 60% of the space industry’s investments. This is in part because the ‘delivery’ mechanisms (basically, rockets) are now delivering enough capacity to meet demand. So what you put up in the sky and what you ‘get out of the sky’ is now the new focus of the industry. And in Europe, the European Space Agency has been increasingly effective at providing significant amounts of grant funding to innovative startups, even as venture capital ramps up its own interest.
STRUCTURE OF THE INDUSTRY
The European SpaceTech industry has structured itself across two main sectors. The first is the components manufacturers (thrusters, antennas, sensors, etc). The second is the huge and booming area of the data analytics market which is the underlying value of satellites.
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