Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit and a new private industry has been born. Pioneers like SpaceX are massively ambitious – you only have to look at the company’s stated goal:
"To renew a sense of excellence in the space industry by disrupting the current paradigm of complacency and replacing it with innovation and commercialised price points; laying the foundation for a truly space-faring human civilization.”
That almost restores your faith in the idea of corporate mission statements, doesn’t it?
Image courtesy of SpaceX
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, who also started PayPal, likens the commercial opportunity to the internet in the early 90s – it too was once only a small scale government exploration space and is now a massive for-profit multi-industry platform.
Image courtesy of Planetary Resources
For now, and the foreseeable future, this emerging space industry will create only one net import from space back to planet earth: information. In the entire history of space exploration so far we have returned 382kg of rocks from the moon, and a few grains of asteroid. But we have had huge quantities of high value information. It has mapped our planet, explained the orgins of the universe, helped us close the ozone hole, improved our agriculture, guided our cars and ships and saved us all from going out without an umbrella and getting soaked countless times. Information is the "GDP” of space.
So perhaps the information engineers will end up being be as important to monetising the emerging private space industry as the rocket scientists and the astronauts. Maybe you will play a part in it. These new space businesses need supply chain business analysts, telcoms engineers and data warehouse specialists just the same as any other company. Don’t believe me? Here’s a job list from the SpaceX website.
Mark Raskino is a vice president and Gartner Fellow in the Executive Leadership and Innovation group of Gartner Research. Read more blogs by Mark here.