Space corporations head into orbit for ‘unobtanium’

Sustainable infrastructure in orbit is one of the latest tectonic waves shaping the global economy. Suddenly, projects that had been stalled – or seemingly impossible – are fast becoming plausible. Instead of constrained government…

Space corporations head into orbit for 'unobtanium'

Sustainable infrastructure in orbit is one of the latest tectonic waves shaping the global economy. Suddenly, projects that had been stalled – or seemingly impossible – are fast becoming plausible. Instead of constrained government budgets, these pressures are taking a lease on financial institutions’ unused capital.

Just look at Elon Musk. In the last few months, SpaceX has rocketed its electric aircraft into orbit for the first time, testing the capabilities of an entire private company. Nasa’s New Horizons space probe is sending back stunning images of Ultima Thule, a small object in the Kuiper Belt which, due to its close proximity to Pluto, could one day be mined for moon dust.

Work in the space business is happening at a rate that far exceeds even optimistic expectations. As interest in space is growing, more and more corporate and investor money is flowing in. But what happens when space-based businesses aren’t just profit-making endeavours, but directly invest in and ultimately own valuable geological assets in space?

Mark Hyman is president and CEO of another space-based enterprise, Vector Space, and is helping spearhead plans for a water-mining firm in the first-ever development of space mining. Here, he previews the company’s first-ever satellite that will be launched from China this week and describes the space economy’s potential to create long-term social, economic and political prosperity in a way that’s well-suited to our times.

Founded in 1999, Vector is a venture capital-backed company based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The company is focused on creating the world’s first commercially viable water-recycling industry in space and developing a full-service civilian satellite design that will be used for Earth observation, weather monitoring and Earth communication.

Here’s a video clip from Channel 4 News explaining the company’s real-world ambitions.

This article was prepared for Channel 4 News by Pitbull & Co, contributors to Business Matters and Future School.

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