Space commerce growth launches industry opportunities

It's an industry many didn't think had real job prospects before, but experts say space commercialization is growing and with that so are the opportunit...
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Business in space may sound like a futuristic idea, but it’s here and it’s growing.

Experts from around the country came to UAH Tuesday to discuss how the Rocket City is playing a role in bringing the moon, stars, and business together.

It’s an industry many didn’t think had real job prospects before, but experts say space commercialization is growing and with that so are the opportunities.

So what is space commerce?

“I haven’t seen any ATM’s up there,” said Lisa Monaco with Jacobs Engineering, remembering a joke she heard at this first annual UAH space commercialization workshop.

It’s the joke they’ve been hearing here, but the commerce is on Earth. Space commerce is the business of getting into space and seeing what can be done commercially up there, anything from mining to space tourism.

“You might be sitting there thinking you need to be a scientist or an engineer to participate but really we need everybody to help with this mission,” Monaco said.

The biggest set-back is the cost of blasting off, but experts say business competition is good for bringing down the cost of space tourism.

“Certainly companies are working on that,” said Jason Greene, the UAH business college dean. “As the cost of getting into space goes down and of course the safety goes up, then companies are looking to sell tickets and sell rides.”

They say the industry is still relatively small, but won’t be for long. 

“This is just a whole new field that honestly last year when I chose this major I didn’t think it was a possibility,” said UAH student David Levins.

The new industry means new people are ready dive in.

“I think it’s amazing,” Levins continued. “It’ll really allow humankind to access and move further into the future if we are not limited to the resources on Earth but can move endlessly, progressing, getting more resources. It’s why I chose the college. I think it’s just limitless and in its possibilities.”

Discussion on this topic continues in Huntsville over the next few days at the 11th annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. The theme is “Galvanizing U.S. Leadership in Space” and there will be speakers from NASA and other experts from around the country.