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If the first two decades of the 2000s saw an IT boom, the next few decades will see the country’s deep tech boom – producing aspiring entrepreneurs and bright minds to solve the world’s most challenging The problem.
There has been a huge shift in the perception of entrepreneurship, especially in India, which has some of the best startup hubs, a strong ecosystem of established founders, and improved government support. For space technology in particular, 2022 is a year to look forward to — the private sector finally maturing and demonstrating its ability to manufacture products for the global market. While the current number may be small, we will soon see many more ambitious entrepreneurs taking on difficult tasks and gaining space validation.
As someone who was lucky enough to take on this task early on, here are some things the next generation of space tech entrepreneurs need to keep in mind in order to carve out a new future.
Aerospace Entrepreneurship 101
It’s like starting a business in any other field – you have to raise capital, hire a great team, win customers, and ultimately make more money than you spent. But when it comes to space technology, there are some key differences.
The stakes here—financial, regulatory or executive—are much higher. It is necessary to have a clear vision of what the company will look like in 5 years or more. At that point, having a step-by-step plan to consistently mitigate risk, whether in a technical, actual product, market or regulatory sense, i.e. having the licenses needed to build/operate in space, will be key. The better the risk reduction, the better the chances of raising investment and bringing more clients on board.
It’s also prudent to remember that mistakes in space are not as easily overlooked as in other fields. If your multi-million dollar hardware fails, you lose not only money but also time. And time, more important in space than anywhere else, is money.
As is the case with all startups, a North Star should execute nearly flawlessly, and to a point where your own revenue can sustain you without further external funding. There are also many lucrative grant opportunities around the world that can be leveraged early on for non-dilutive funding. Ultimately, the path may be harder, but it will be well worth it if you keep going.
Bringing Ingenuity to Space Tech Startups
It’s important for any new space technology entrepreneur to not only focus on replicating technologies that others have proven, but also to orient themselves toward solving real problems plaguing the world.
The ideal approach is to start with an identified problem and think about first principles. In addition to huge opportunities in imaging, communications, and launch vehicles, the next few years will see many game-changing infrastructure technologies such as Starship, commercial space stations, and more that will disrupt what space entrepreneurs can achieve. Building and planning solutions on these foundations will lead to more technological advancement and innovation.
However, the key thing to remember is that while innovative ideas are important, executing them on cost and time and working with a world-class team is what will set you apart.
heralds the next space age
The next space age will see two conflicting ideals at work—the nationalization and globalization of space technology. Every sovereign state that takes its geopolitical ambitions seriously will attempt to build or acquire critical space technologies for itself, increasing the need for local capabilities.
At the same time, we will see commercial space technology reach the untouched, with commercial space stations working across borders and democratizing access. As a budding space entrepreneur, you can follow any of the above trends. It is the combination of these two approaches that will lead to a vibrant global space economy.
The time is ripe to start looking beyond Earth’s orbit. There are opportunities to send hardware to other planetary bodies that could develop into a viable business themselves, build sensors to better map the moon, figure out ways to extract and use lunar resources, or create new ways of propulsion to speed up our The Time of Star Travel. The next few years will present unique business models for a lunar economy, a Martian economy, and an economy that ties all these institutions together.
To truly lead the next wave in space, one needs to move fast and find the right trade-offs without compromising reliability.It is during this journey, in the truest sense, that you can say Per Aspera, Ad Astra (Through Adversity, Towards the Stars) literal meaning. This is your chance to boldly go where no one has gone before and build where no one has ever built.
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