The Far-Reaching Impact of Space Commercialization

We speak to Cynthia Bouthot and Jonathan Volk on the far-reaching impact of space commerce on various industries.


Morten Seja
Economic Growth Adviser
More about Morten Seja
Highlights from this article

What we have found is there are lots of applications and we have worked with lots of companies, both big fortune 500, as well as startup, bringing their cutting edge research or manufacturing to space so that they could actually achieve higher quality products, better performance products, novel materials, and increased R&D throughput.

Many, if not most of the pharmaceutical companies going up to space to do crystallization for better drug development and delivery systems, we're seeing accelerated disease models.

We're seeing lots of activity and crop science looking at vertical agriculture or water management.

A small startup based in the Northeast wants to utilize electro deposition to make retinal implants. And they found through some R and D testing initially on the space station that those can be made much more effectively without fewer defects. So they perform better a lot of times in materials, even when you get down to a very molecular level defects cause bad materials and it's bad product. So, this company is now done several iterations of experimentation and shown that that microgravity does help make a better implant.

Semiconductor companies are looking at manufacturing wafers Cause obviously, you know, on earth we have these clean rooms where they're very concerned about defects in it and you have to scrap away if it's not made right. So the risk goes down with the risk of defects and microgravity going down. So you're looking at semiconductor companies potentially utilizing space for initially for R&D, but then eventually a pathway to manufacturing.

Companies utilizing space, RYD like Procter and gamble once utilize space to help improve the shelf life of their various products. They last long, you don't have to scrap as fast.

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