The New Space Race

By Amelia Lipcsei

As private companies begin to infiltrate space exploration, the space industry is beginning to bring in expedited revenue to countries all over the globe. Companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin have created ways for wealthy citizens to explore areas out of the earth’s atmosphere. Rapidly expanding, the industry accounts for over $380 billion in global revenue. Because of the wealth and innovation that controlling space provides, a plethora of countries have started implementing greater funding and placing more importance on their space programs. 

In the late 1900’s the Space Race began as a way to pit communism against capitalism; now, the modern space race serves as a way for countries to further develop their economy and prestige. In many cases, technologies that were originally developed for space exploration now serve a purpose in public goods. For instance, explains Matt Eitner, Chief Executive Officer of Laidlaw and Company UK Ltd, “Scratch-resistant lenses now widely in use, rely on a technology originally developed by NASA for protecting the helmets of astronauts.” In the same way, he later adds, “Artificial limbs, once awkward and uncomfortable, have seen huge improvements in their functionality and comfort thanks to the evolution of technology used in space vehicles.” By investing in space programs, countries have found that technology has seen a rise in both functionality and demand. 

Likewise, as people launch an increased amount of satellites into orbit, telecommunications and observation technologies continue to become more efficient. Especially with the rise of private companies, who have the funds to invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning, satellites have become more advanced. These improvements allow people to find creative ways to put new space technologies to use back on Earth. Providing countries with more resources and technologies, space exploration has just recently become a topic of great importance to many places all over the globe. Investing in space programs allows countries to  build their economies and garner more prestige. With the start of a new space race, who knows what the future holds for both technology and humankind.