Publications

- October 1, 2019: Vol. 12, Number 9

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The space economy: Yes, infinite infrastructure investment opportunities — but also some outsize ambitions

by Sinéad O’Sullivan

Space is more important to modern business than most investors realize. It plays a role in making food, pricing insurance and steering self-driving cars. While moon-shot projects from SpaceX and Blue Origin drive headlines, the Earth-facing space economy is booming thanks to plummeting costs of entry. As tech companies large and small compete to launch thousands of satellites, it is easy to forget that space used to be the domain of national governments. Today, it is fast becoming the arena of private enterprise.

Consider Amazon recently announced Project Kuiper, a plan to loft more than 3,000 satellites into orbit to provide high-speed internet to up to 4 billion new customers, while SpaceX is launching Starlink, with plans to put nearly 12,000 satellites into low-Earth orbit. Facebook is reportedly working on satellites, too. That’s just for surfing the web anywhere on Earth. Then there are more aloof plans for space tourism and asteroid mining, as well.

Currently,

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