A16z Space Market Map
Last week, Andreesen Horowitz's team presented a market segmentation on space investments with a post analyzing the Space Industry.
The A16z team broke the space industry into Seraphim Space segmentation infographic we featured last month.
Part of the A16z potential investment thesis is building rockets and satellites requires precise engineering and advanced manufacturing facilities with many suppliers. SpaceX initially did everything in-house, but now an ecosystem of manufacturing and software companies serves the space economy. Software is a key enabler for space, with SpaceX inspiring a lineage of space software companies. Commercial space industry SaaS is now available and an exciting space to watch for investment potential.
The A16z site does say the post does not represent any current or future investments with a pretty lengthy disclaimer at the bottom of the post, but one would think the intensive research and write-up was not simply busywork. Nevertheless, we love their infographic and analysis.
In late February, the Space Com conference met in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center to discuss the vast applications of science and technology composing the space player landscape. Better Futures sat down with Luciano Giesso, the head of sales, global governments at Satellogic to get some insights about the Space data-gathering entities that were present.
“We are in the earth observation business. We do earth observation satellites and that is the core of our business," said Giesso. He then detailed the wide scope of Space players that were in attendance on the same panel he spoke as an earth observation representative for. These included Amazon Web Services, Dell Technologies, representatives from academia in Australia, among others.
"It was pretty broad in the sense that we had different players and different parts of the value chain of what it means to deliver data to end users. That is sort of a reflection of how the event is built,” said Giesso, who explained the broad scope of the Space players represented.
Giesso was among the few earth orbital intelligence representatives present. He spoke on how grateful he was to present the commercial value of earth orbital intelligence to the panel. Giesso highlighted the importance of earth orbital technology at a critical time in the history of earth observation and high altitude surveillance gathering technologies.
In early February 2023, U.S. headlines were heavily populated with news of a Chinese surveillance aircraft, dubbed by mainstream media as the “Chinese spy balloon”, an event that caused a stir and political debate over the correct aerospace and government response. The debate over the Chinese surveillance craft and its purpose flying over the United States drew the attention of general audiences to expanding technologies that gather data from a high altitude or from the earth's near orbit.
While earth observation intelligence is governed by strict principles by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs on the global level, there was a common trend of fear over the surveillance craft. Time magazine wrote that the surveillance balloon had "inflated" America's paranoia. The New York Times called the national response to the balloon the"great balloon freak out." As news drew attention to the "poor man's satellite" balloon system, and other media to the vast network of corresponding satellite systems the Chinese-state owns, fear was sparked over a new era of "war on the edge," The Guardian and Time magazine reported separately.
Yet, as general public fear was kindled, space commercialization players reassured their audiences that the earth orbital intelligence technology can also be used for good.
Giesso, from the capacity of his Satellogic role, explained how his company aligns closely with U.S. and NATO compliance as a U.S.-based entity. By giving an insider's perspective, Giesso gave some context into the applications and compliance with legal expectations affixed to earth observation entities. He explained the role earth observation intelligence plays in pioneering data accessibility all over the world. For Satellogic, the main objective is to pioneer the accessibility of Space-based data for humanitarian as well as commercial interest-driven purposes.
“When it comes to our role before governments, we have no ties to China in that sense. We are very much looking to democratize access to Space data and be able to help governments around the world, both on commercial activities, but also on__I’m going to give you a straightforward example_we supported Ukraine in the war against Russia. We’re providing imagery to NGOs, and the country of Ukraine, and the U.S. and to NATO allies to be able to help evacuate civil populations," said Giesso, explaining that earth orbital intelligence can also aid ground efforts to access resources, as Satellogic has done with Ukraine while the nation has been under invasion.
“We take a stance in those kinds of things because we really believe in the use of data for peaceful purposes,” Giesso said, reiterating that SpaceCom had focused strongly on the mitigation of Space-based data for civil interest uses.
The role of the Chinese national-linked surveillance craft was part of a state-driven aerial surveillance program, The Washington Post reported. Yet, from Giesso's description of Satellogic services, one can see that there are many other applications of earth observation technology. The peaceful application of these sciences have been able to save civilian lives in hostile situations. As commercialization of Space becomes more mainstream, the general public will gain a stronger realization of the pivotal role earth observation intelligence plays in powering modern technology.
Better Futures analyzes that general public observers will begin to understand the applications of earth orbital intelligence gathering technology are what makes the difference. By understanding this, the public will overcome its fear of intelligence gathering from aerospace and Outer Space. Rather, the public will engage in formulating new ways to, like Satellogic, use this technology for the betterment of Humankind.
Orange County Convention Center photographed in November 2019.
Article by Rachel Brooks.
“Robotic Dog”, a Quadri-ped ground drone by Ghost Robotics, was on display.
Space commercialization entities on exhibit made impressions with Robotic dogs, astronaut ice cream, and metal-cast Captain America shields, as the oddities of display booths showcased a highly engagement of well-established industry in the Space sector.
SpaceCom Expo 2023 gave deep glimpses into the current progress of Space industries that are activley bridging the gap between deep science innovation, information technology, and the "common place" integration of emerging industries into society.
While there were no major plot twists, the showroom floor showed the great strides modern satellite technology, data analytics, and manufacturing have made toward producing a viable human presence in Space.
IT and InfoSec
SpaceCom featured a plethora of information technology presenters. Among them were co-sponsors Dell Technologies, Deloitte, and smaller enterprises such as the DLZP Group. DLZP Group, a SMART compliance entity, explained that they provide government compliance audit services and literature for preparing an entity’s unique software for having to register with the government regulation protocols.
SpiderOak featured their "zero trust security for zero gravity" information security services. Those who stopped by the booth were offered a bar of vacuum-sealed, freeze-dried "astronaut ice cream." The brand used this simple advertising for a high-scale ambition. SpiderOak security protects the "most important civil, military, and commercial space operations" by providing security to the satellite sector.
Also in attendance was a harvest of strong data analytics services providers.
Lifescale Analytics was featured among them, explaining their service as an actionable insights platform, creating useful data from everything that can be digitized, such as old PDF statements and analogous information stored in companies’ hard drives.
Lifescale explained that it had a partnership with Aerospike, the data system at the heart of PayPal’s rapid fraud detection strategy. The rapid fraud detection powered by Geospatial Intelligence Systems showcases the ground-real application that Space entities already have in earthbound enterprises.
Software and Technology as a Service
A large component of the exhibitors on the floor was the managed services. These ranged from Leaf Space, a ground station as a service platform, which enables the seamless communication between satellites in the Low Earth Orbital, or “LEO” space, to Modernization as a Service, abbreviated MaaS.
Mechanics and Robotics
Hardware and robotics stole the show as Ghost Robotics showed off the “robotic dog”, a state-of-the-art Quadrupedal Unmanned Vehicle, abbreviated Q-UGV, a.k.a. the ground drone. The ground can move, walk, creep, and bow in a manner that appears dog-like.
The ground drone’s movement was so similar to a dog that some attendees were calling out to it like a puppy, petted it, and offered to give it a name for the Space Force officer who was operating the drone.
The drone is impervious to slips, and falls, with advantages over ground vehicles such as using wheels, tracks, or bipedal systems, stated the Ghost Robotics landing page.
Other manufacturers included CryoWorks, a cryo pipe company that produces vacuum jacket pipes for rocket systems. The vacuum jackets prevent the liquid contents of engines from becoming solid ice en route across Space.
Logistics and Transportation
Among the many defense and capabilities offerings present, there were also logistics unifying those efforts. SpacePort featured the framework of Spaceports, which, like airports, provide the ground air traffic control and logistic sites for Space flight testing. The SpacePort America platform prides itself as the first-of-its-kind space destination airport, where USAF Thunderbirds and other rocket launches make their hub for tests.
Academics, Defense, and Government Entities
Also in attendance were academic entities, trade agencies, and government entities, including special aerospace education programs from the Haslam College of Business, Aerospace and Defense, with the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN, Waldorf University, and Thunderbird School of Global Management with the University of Arizona.
For trade agencies, the Italian Trade Agency was present, as a sponsoring member of the expo, and featured multi-level views of the Italian Space commercial sector.
Space Force featured, demonstrating robotics and speaking on the floor. Along with the Space Force was the Space Force Association, and the Defense Department’s cyber security functions.
Under the umbrella of defense and government relations entities, stood the Space Enterprise Consortium. SpEC builds pathways for entities to cooperate with the U.S. government and U.S. defense branches through its active academic and industry partners. The Space Enterprise Consortium was created in 2017 through the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.
NASA was present at the event as well, featuring a virtual rocket-building simulator, as well as an exhibit of the Lunar Rover. NASA also represented its NASA Partnerships program, featuring 2,500+ active partnerships with industry, academia, U.S. government agencies, and international entities.
Moving Pieces of Space Commercialization
While large audiences tend to think of Space exploration and industrialization as being like in the movies, SpaceCom’s floor exhibitors showed a straightforward picture of all the many components that make up the Space business.
As CisLunar and LEO Space commercialization advances, these players will no longer remain in the backdrop of setting Space businesses in motion. More often than not, experts anticipate that the Space industry will become a career option for mainstream tech, finance, logistics, and manufacturing professionals as the Space Commercialization Age kicks off. This is an interest that universities are pushing to make mainstream, but experts also believe the interest will increase interest naturally, see more at The University of Pennsylvania.
Rachel Brooks, Next Dawn News
Better Future's employees and interns contribute to this blog.