Space Is Once Again the New Frontier

With space becoming more congested, Poponak expects asset protection will contribute at least $5.5bn to the US Defense budget over the next five years. This amount is likely to be allocated within the classified budget, and will create new opportunity for defense names. US Space Command has already grown to roughly the same size as the Coast Guard with about 2.5 times the budget. Because space spending is closely linked to national security threats from near-peer countries, we see the resurgence of Russia and rise of China as important tailwinds to Pentagon spending in space. Both countries have successfully tested anti-satellite weapons, exposing the risk to US space assets. Part of the US defensive strategy in space is the distribution of its architecture across numerous satellites, including commercial platforms.


Privatization of space creates near-Earth commercial opportunity and enables NASA to venture further out. As NASA pushes deeper into space, private firms are filling in, taking over responsibility for transport and services to low Earth orbit, seen clearly in the commercial resupply and commercial crew awards. The last US-launched human spaceflight was the final shuttle mission in 2011. But that is set to change with imminent commercially-operated flights to the International Space Station and the development of the Space Launch System, the next-gen exploration class rocket, which will bring Americans to asteroids by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s.

“Overall, it’s a really fascinating time in space,” Poponak said. “There’s a lot going on, a lot of investment, a lot of innovation so it’s really looking like space is, again, reigniting.”

via What if I Told You… Space Is Once Again the New Frontier | Sponsored | Smithsonian


About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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