To many, space may be the final frontier for humanity. But a focus on space exploration can help us achieve improvements on planet Earth too. The space sector is driving growth in more than exploration; it’s a boon for businesses across multiple industries, including pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, tourism and agriculture. And growth in any sector inevitably results in job creation, new and more plentiful products, and increased monetary value. Space will be no different in this regard.

In the future, companies will benefit from space’s value creation. Building space strategies within the coming decades will serve to spur many companies forward thus accelerating the achievement of  their goals and constantly push them to stay innovative – and competitive. For years now, companies have used satellite data to better inform their business decisions. Companies that want to innovate should explore joining space activities that utilize this data or even creating space assets to meet growing demand for the importance of space data and resources.

Given the potential of the space sector of our global economy, companies should consider four areas of opportunity when creating their space strategy:

Space Data

The utilization of space facilitates receiving data, whether through collected data for analysis or transmitted data, is essential to get information from one point to another. Perhaps the best example is how GPS created about $1.4 trillion in economic benefits for American businesses. Innovative companies like rideshare companies like Lyft built upon that data. Interestingly GPS (Global Positioning System) did not start out as part of any commercial sector. The GPS was a Department of Defense tool whose broader potential became readily apparent once it proved itself. Now several other systems with similar capabilities are being developed by other nations – and billions of people could not imagine a life without it. Sometimes the immense capabilities offered by space technology become so integral in our lives that we forget where they are and how they originated. 

Businesses now have increased access to a diverse array of space-based data and services at more cost-efficient prices. They increasingly use remote-sensing providers for data that inform their business decisions, including tracking activity in retail locations or assessing soil and moisture content for high crop yields. Further, the next generation of commercial satellites singularly and in constellations will provide environmental data business leaders need. 

Among the myriad of applications of space-derived data a company can measure their greenhouse gas emissions to meet new environmental standards, help optimize solar panel usage to gauge energy efficiency, measure heat waste to identify cost savings, and inform ESG risks to help companies meet sustainability goals. Remote-sensing companies have matured but are still in their infancy regarding implementation worldwide. Much more about our home planet can be gleaned from space assets – information that is useful to individuals as well as large corporations. GPS is one example of the ubiquity of space data across all sectors and levels of our economy.  Advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence, incorporating other data sources and satellite innovations will enhance spaced-based data in the future even further.

The reliance on Internet and communications coverage through space is also growing. Ground-based networks may be faster, but the infrastructure used to build on-Earth systems can be expensive. Using space-based constellations eases the infrastructure costs and drastically enhances the extent of coverage – planetwide.  When combined with ground-based systems, hybrid space- and ground-based communication systems offer even more advantages.

Apple is even considering building its own satellites to provide its consumer devices with widespread coverage. Already, the iPhone 14 includes a built-in satellite connection for emergency communications. SpaceX has announced that its Starlink satellites, when completed, can turn any spot on Earth into an Internet hub, as shown by their assistance of internet access to Ukrainian leaders during the war with Russia. Amazon’s Project Kuiper similarly seeks to expand high-speed Internet access.  Kuiper would use complementary infrastructure such as SatixFy’s aircraft-mounted terminal designed to provide reliable web connectivity to airline passengers. Starlink has also enhanced its services to end users in their own cars. 

Soon it will be possible for anyone, anywhere on Earth, with simple consumer devices, to have high quality voice and data connectivity 24/7. For many consumers who can never have enough connectivity this will be yet another enticing service. But for large portions of the world’s population, with little or now quality communications,  this will truly be a gift from the stars. 


Experiments that will shape many of Earth’s industries in the future are already in progress in space. Business leaders should know what value can be created from established – and future capabilities in space. 

Space is a promising location for pharmaceutical R&D. The novel environment of spaceflight wherein microgravity is ubiquitous – and constant – offers a chance to people biological and chemical processes in ways that are simply impossible to do on the surface of Earth.

Further experiments in microgravity have fostered our understanding of fluid physics, the structures of gels and pastes, muscle atrophy and bone loss, combustion (and more), along with applications for healthcare, manufacturing, and numerous other industries. We have achieved insights on plant growth, germination and responses to light— all of which have implications for the future of agriculture and food industries. These research results also provide knowledge that will assist future space missions wherein humans live in space and other worlds for prolonged periods of time.

Manufacturing materials and products in space has been a goal for decades. The dramatic decline in launch costs and the promised efficiency of space platforms promise to further change the economic viability of space for the better. Lower prices and greater functionality that have already spurred dramatic growth in the satellite sector and now affect in-space manufacturing capabilities. Nearly a dozen firms are cooperating on designs for commercial space stations expected in the late 2020s when NASA plans to retire the current International Space Station. These new space stations are designed to attract manufacturing firms, private R&D, and other in-demand industries. When completed, they will make space more accessible and valuable than ever. One space station is useful. Many space stations – each crafted toward more specific capabilities, will be even more useful.

Space Resources

As the presence and scope of human activities evolve in space, they will need to make much greater utilization of physical resources in space. This is often referred to as In situ Resource Utilization or ISRU.  Microgravity is a tool, but space is vast with accordingly huge material resources “in situ” that can be utilized without the need to bring them up from Earth. With plans to revisit the Moon, Orbit Fab is creating an in-space propellant supply chain to help countries and the private sector tap water resources on the Moon by storing fuel close to the action on the lunar surface.

Additive manufacturing – more commonly referred to as 3D printing – is also using cutting-edge technology in space. Jeff Bezos has mentioned that part of his vision behind Blue Origin is to take heavy, polluting industry and move it to space to help preserve Earth. It’s hard to predict when true in-situ resource utilization in space will develop. Still, the vast mineral material available in space will attract investment – and companies like AstroForge will be able to raise millions to begin asteroid mining.

New Market Demands

Meeting the demands of new markets in the space sector can help us better approach business longevity. Companies will find it advantageous to operate in space not only due to decreased costs but because more people and hardware will travel to space for longer, increasing the demand for goods and services.

As space tourism sees costs decrease and infrastructure assembled in orbit — a market expected to reach $13 billion in the next ten years — various companies in the tourist sector will explore exciting opportunities. CRE developers, designers, architects and artists will be needed to plan and humanize these areas. Architecture firms have already worked with NASA to help construct the Mars Dune Alpha structure for the Artemis mission, which simulates what it would be like to live on Mars.

The “space-for-space” economy will create new pathways to new geographic markets for firms in all areas. If humans start to live long-term in space, they’ll also need some of the creature comforts we have on Earth. Various markets will create and supply for-space experiences. Reliable, global brands will provide familiarity and comfort to make the often harsh environment palpable and more easily used to further scientific and commercial activities.

Businesses interested in commercial space should be willing to experiment and look for a team prepared to create innovative materials and experiences.Someone has to take that up-front risk.  The “NewSpace” sector will become fully integrated into our lives in some form as it stimulates amazing economic benefits for both people and companies. By seeking to implement space strategies as part of a business’s operations, the only way is upwards.