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The other area of innovation that often gets overlooked, but is no less important, is that of coatings. Ever since Apollo 11 changed our view of the universe forever, specialist coatings have been used to ensure the safety and performance of man-made structures leaving our atmosphere.

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Space travel brings with it unique challenges that, without the use of coatings, would render any space program earth-bound. Anti-reflective, UV to IR filtering, thermal control through extreme temperature differentials and radiation, retention of integrity under duress micro-meteorite impacts are very common in space — these are just some of the attributes required of a coating used in many parts of a space-bound vehicle.

Gaining a fuller understanding of how certain nanoparticles behave when placed within specific compounds is a huge area of attention. One key challenge is to produce a coating — or a compound that can be added to an existing coating — that demonstrates different or multiple characteristics depending on the requirement. However that may be about to change.

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As a result, they are working with different industries such as the AM sector in order to develop advanced materials that could drastically increase performance and reduce cost — two things critically important to the advancement of space research and our desire to explore the final frontier. Hit enter to search or ESC to close.

The combined space budgets of all governments worldwide in amounted to just over USD76 billion.

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Clearly, space is already being driven by the private sector, which is expected to account for the lion's share of growth in the years ahead, according to the SPACE team. Presently, the commercial activities driving the global space economy concentrate in three key business segments: a commercial launches and satellite manufacturing, b delivery of media and data via satellite and c the manufacture of GPS chips that enable smartphones and other devices to use location-based services. All of these segments are represented in SPACE, and the forecasted growth described earlier in this piece will rely principally on the continued growth of these well-developed space businesses, the firm says.

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The team behind SPACE also predicts there is more to come from companies not traditionally involved in the space industry. While growth forecasts are almost entirely based on the present realities of the space economy, the future could well hold some significant game-changers that could accelerate the pace of growth beyond what is clearly forecastable today, SPACE says.

They cite space tourism, including transportation and hospitality, which is about to get underway as entities like Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic complete flight testing and begin furnishing their vehicles in preparation for paying customers.

In the longer term, space resource exploration and extraction could provide abundant new sources of key minerals, including rare earth metals that are so essential to the manufacture of smartphones and related technologies. Space-based defense initiatives — such as the US DoD proposal of a Space Force — are expected to rely heavily on the private sector for launch vehicles and related technologies, adding yet another massive new dimension to the growth equation for space.

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More broadly, there are multinational efforts to better track and manage space traffic. Many companies engaged in these new space initiatives remain privately held. But one of the defining characteristics of SPACE is its quick uptake of the IPOs expected to dominate in these new segments of the space economy, the firm says.

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The S-Network Space Index is designed to capture the performance of the space industry as well as can be reflected in an investable portfolio of public companies, the firm says. This balance makes the index appropriate for both academic and investment purposes, leading to its use by both a non-profit research periodical the quarterly Space Report and an exchange-traded product UFO. The intent is to evolve along with the industry, always remaining a relevant measure — boldly going where no index has gone before.

Login Register. A Global Fund Media Ltd publication. SPACE aims to boldly go where no index has gone before. By Beverly Chandler. Like this article?