When the Falcon 9 rocket blasted off into space, SpaceX became the first private company to reach the International Space Station. This accomplishment set in motion a global race for space supremacy on earth. Today, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are also going full throttle for the business potential in space, with Porsche SE recently joining as the new kid on the block.
What is fueling this new race? And what role does the Internet of Things (IoT) play in this global race?
The IoT has become crucial in everyday living as computing speeds increase exponentially and integrated circuits become miniaturized to fit into standard technologies and products. IoT has given humans absolute control of their environment. The hindrance to this interconnectivity of devices is that our current satellite coverage amounts to less than 20 percent of the planet.
At present, there is no single technology sufficient to connect the entire world or enough bandwidth to handle the trillions of internet-capable devices. This problem creates an overwhelming need for satellite-based communication technology for the world to achieve the full potential and impact of IoT.
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Billionaires Space Race
Billionaire investors and the private sector all want a share of the pie in this market, as trillions of dollars are at stake for companies willing to take the plunge. Richard Branson beat fellow billionaires Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Tesla’s Elon Musk to reach space aboard his Virgin Galactic craft which blasted off by his own privately funded rocket thruster.
This privatization of space has opened doors to private companies producing miniature satellites to populate the entire orbit.
Launching Miniaturized Satellite Constellations
The new space race has led to mass production of nano and picosatellites to populate earth’s orbit. These smallsats are expected to provide full-spectrum internet coverage and connectivity for IoT-enabled to devices for years to come. Additionally, low-earth orbit satellites can serve both high bandwidth and low-data transmission rates to IoT devices in the most remote regions of the world.
Private IoT providers like Swarm, Kepler, and Astrocast launch thousands of these mini-satellites into space every year to help relay information for billions of devices. Everything from vehicles to phones and even electronic implants chips embedded in human tissue will provide data to give humans greater control of the environment around them.
Porsche Joins the Space Bid
Companies like Porsche have not been left behind in this growing market for launching miniature satellites into orbit. The automaker has partnered with Isar Aerospace to make headway in this space race to produce rocket thruster technology for launching micro-satellites into orbit. Trillions of dollars are at stake, and the space billionaires will face new rivals like Porsche SE in the coming years.
By acquiring a minimum shareholding stake in Isar Aerospace, Porsche SE and other investors have pumped $165 million into the latest funding round for its space vehicle and launch services company.
As NASA makes room for newcomers in space exploration, space billionaires and private companies are now in the driver’s seat. Fueling this demand is the need for global imaging and interconnectivity of devices by businesses, governments, schools and individuals around the world.
In the next coming decade, innovation for space-based technology will become the driving factor for many countries and industries worldwide. If all goes as planned, IoT will be pervasive in all sectors of human life, including intelligent farming technologies, climate monitoring, health monitoring, wearable intelligent devices, and more.