IPO Corner: The Exploitation Of Space

All throughout history, intelligent men have reminded us that, in this life, the only constant is change… intelligent men like Heraclitus and Benjamin Franklin. Today, we have something far more advanced and wonderous than simple words to bring that point home to us: we have graduated to the sky. In December of 1998, The International Space Station (ISS) was put into orbit, with modules and components being added until its final completion in 2000.

Since then, the ISS has passed over us all, time and time again… countless times. It has become a fixture of global culture, and a beacon of hope for those of us who look to the stars. Now, the very beacon of hope we’ve all come to rely on is set to come back to earth, with NASA recently letting us know they’re working on a $1 billion strategy to make it happen. The retirement date is currently set for 2031. So, what comes next?

Well… we think space may start to look a little more commercial in the near future and beyond. We also think it’s unfolding more quickly than it seems at first glance. The easiest example to demonstrate this would be Axiom Space, which recently raised Series C funds to the tune of $350 million. The company is working to build the world’s first commercial space station, and they have folks like Aljazira Capital and Boryung in their corner.

It seems that once a barrier is broken, it clears the way for more to break that same barrier. That looks to be in play here, as we’re seeing more folks deciding they have what it takes to launch a successful business in or around the space of… space. What space may turn into is the next community square, where medicine, hospitality, entertainment, and living meet much like they do here on earth.

When talking about future space ambitions, Axiom Space CEO and president Michael Suffredini used the phrase “burgeoning global space economy”, and we can see it beginning to blossom as well. Being billed as the next step in space, utilizing all our collective lessons-learned from previous efforts, the folks involved in the project envision the advancement of human life. They see space as just another block in the neighborhood of us all.

Historically, is has been the governments of the world with the financial capital, manpower, and prowess to propel change through space initiatives and megaprojects. That’s changing… there’s finally enough paper in the hands of nongovernmental entities that we can have a proper “race” to commercialize space, and that means we’re going to see folks stumbling over one another to be first to market… at least, the smart ones.

Fourteen nations are participating in the retirement of the ISS and the launch of a new space station… Axiom Space is relevant because they will be leading the venture, that’s no small feat. They’re confident they can do what the ISS has done for a few decades now, but better, and for less money. Since Axiom Space has already made headway by sending the first all-private astronaut crew to the ISS, they’re feeling pretty sure they can deliver on their out-of-this-world promises. They’ll be launching and attaching an initial module in 2025.

Folks wanting to get to space is more than just building ambitious projects that benefit mankind, there’s also the matter of what some are calling the new gold rush… except this time there are no pickaxes and train tickets to California. Case and point: an asteroid known as 16 Psyche, which the US wants for its $10 quintillion payload. According to NASA, we could potentially harvest very large amounts of nickel, iron, and gold. They have a special spacecraft to check it out.

If you’re wondering what we could possibly do with all that loot… we’ve already thought about that. The 2015 US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act gives companies the legal right to the materials mined from celestial bodies, and they’re already working on the technology to do so. Space hotels, space factories, space workplaces, and space vacations could end up becoming a reality quickly with all this competition… come back next week, we’ll have more from the IPO Space.