The Space Economy at a Glance: A Recap

August 4, 2023
Space Capital

A recap of The Space Economy 

The Space Economy: Capitalize on the Greatest Business Opportunity of Our Lifetime was published by Wiley on April 11, 2023. This comprehensive guidebook to the Space Economy will help investors, entrepreneurs, and aspiring professionals understand the impact of space-based technologies on enterprise, government, and consumer markets today and for decades to come. Order today at: 

If you’re reading this, you probably have the sneaking suspicion that something big is on the horizon. You may even have glimpsed a harbinger of this coming change: small, low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites swooping across the sky, parts of the rapidly growing satellite constellations powering the global economy to a greater extent each day. From a rapidly expanding geospatial industry to the burgeoning commercial space industry, the Space Economy gives us much to explore.

The Space Economy book cover

Booming private space industry

For all the media coverage of SpaceX and its iconoclastic founder, Elon Musk, commercial launch services are just the beginning of the story. The Space Economy is much more than rockets and satellite hardware. 

Space-based technologies are next-generation digital infrastructure, the “invisible backbone” of the largest global industries. Most people have yet to grasp the genuine, world-changing business implications of lower-cost orbital access. 

CNBC has called space “Wall Street’s next trillion-dollar industry.” Bank of America predicts that “the growing space economy will more than triple in size in the next decade to become a $1.4 trillion market.” Morgan Stanley expects a space-based business to create the world’s first trillionaire.

Humanity has operated in space for decades, but only recently has space become a category for investment. Given that this entrepreneurial space age is only a decade old, most of the action is still in the private markets, but we’re beginning to see some companies listed on public markets where retail investors can participate. 

If you think back to the late 1990s, there were a handful of publicly traded technology stocks. Seemingly overnight, “technology” became an investable category to diversify your portfolio. Today, that label has lost its meaning because every company is a technology company. Space is in the same position that tech was then. 

One day, “space” as a label will lose its usefulness as every company begins to rely on space-based technology in some way to deliver value. 

GPS Industry

Space technologies have already delivered massive returns for investors. GPS is a space-based technology that has generated trillions of dollars in economic value, as well as some of the largest venture outcomes in history. The GPS economy and GPS tracking industry provide a useful playbook for understanding how other space-based technologies will create new investment opportunities across the economy. 

Two of these—Geospatial Intelligence and Satellite Communications—already play critical roles in most major industries, including agriculture, insurance, construction, telecom, and financial services.

Blooming commercial space industry

We’re at an inflection point. What’s actually happening in space is more astonishing and otherworldly than all the breathless promises of the space crazies, the wild-eyed talking heads who keep promising a Starbucks on Mars by early next year. 

Fifty years ago, the first glimmers of a global computer network containing all the world’s knowledge attracted scant public interest. Meanwhile, jetpacks inspired awe and wonder even though people regularly flew on airplanes. Would jetpacks really have been more important than the World Wide Web? Of course not. 

To the average person in 1973, however, jetpacks were easier to understand. The same goes for the genuine potential of today’s Space Economy. It’s more difficult to grasp than the idea of a Mars-based latte, but it’s well worth the effort of doing so.

At Space Capital, we are experienced fund managers and operators, deeply embedded in the Space community, with a strong technical understanding. Our partners have built rockets, satellites, and operating systems. We have founded companies with assets currently in space and have led multiple exits as operators. We have been investing in this category for over a decade, and top-tier venture capital and private equity firms have consistently looked to our partners for operational guidance.

You may wonder why a company that trades on its expertise would share its knowledge in a book. When we were just getting started over 10 years ago, before we had capital to invest, we used our expertise in the Space Economy to educate and inform the broader market, and investor education is still an integral part of our strategy. 

This book joins a wide array of Space Capital white papers, blog posts, podcast episodes, and television appearances. As investors, we believe that, for all the activity in today’s Space Economy, the world is nowhere close to fully embracing the exponential growth opportunity at hand. 

With orbital access for all within reach, there are so many ideas and innovations from other industries that can now be applied to space. In spreading our insights, we hope to spur greater participation in the Space Economy by the most talented entrepreneurs, investors, and professionals.

How does space technology help the economy?

Over a quarter of a trillion dollars has been invested into nearly two thousand unique space companies over the past decade alone. Simultaneously, public interest in space-related careers has surged: Space Talent, our space-focused talent community and job board, currently lists 30,000 open positions across 700 companies. The Space Economy is here, and its growth is trending almost straight up.

Last year saw a record launch cadence with 180 successful rocket launches to orbit, driven by SpaceX (61) and China’s state-run launch operators (62). And SpaceX is on pace to achieve as many as 100 this year, including Starship launches from Texas. Much is happening, but if you rely on mainstream news that touches on space and space-based technology, it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees. Stories that touch a nerve generate clicks. As we’ve seen across the media landscape, this distorts the picture.

Some businesses in the Space Economy are making real progress toward genuine and lasting improvements to our quality of life, from reducing pollution to ensuring our food supply, but they’re succeeding in ways that are hard to summarize for a general audience. Other businesses wow a gullible press with flashy and dramatic promises but pursue approaches that aren’t grounded in good science.

It’s a complex and powerful story like this one that demands a book-length treatment. The Space Economy isn’t something you’ll understand from reading the latest headlines. It’s too easy to confuse recency with relevance. Keeping up with space-related posts on the tech blogs alone won’t clue you into what’s really going on. To understand the benefits of the commercial space industry and today’s Space Economy, you need a balanced, fact-based perspective with enough context to understand the implications.

At Space Capital, we spend most of our time talking to companies about their goals. Crucially, however, we follow up by doing our homework. We validate assumptions and estimate odds based on the facts. The reason we’ve been so successful is that we have the requisite expertise and investment experience to dig deeply into even the most technologically ambitious entrepreneurial vision.

At Space Capital, we know most of the key figures operating within today’s Space Economy. Over the years, we’ve talked shop with many of the leaders, government officials, technologists, and innovators driving progress in space, and we have also conducted a series of dedicated interviews specifically for this book. Backed by these incredible outside contributions, we are confident that The Space Economy will stand for some time as the most comprehensive and authoritative look at this exciting field.

Order The Space Economy: Capitalize on the Greatest Business Opportunity of Our Lifetime now! 



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