It seems every ed note I have written in the last few months talks about “a new era” and “change” for our industry. One of the main issues that has constantly been a talking point is low cost access to space and reusability of rockets. This has been a recurring theme at recent events, and sure to be a key talking point at SATELLITE 2016. Over the last few weeks, Blue Origin launched a rocket into space and navigated it back to the ground. This is the type of innovation that has long been talked about, but has now become a reality. Certainly, companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are leading the way with their ambition to push technology boundaries.
What all this means is that the launch services sector will be a particularly exciting one to watch over the next few years. Blue Origin’s achievement is exciting for the whole industry as it shows a new wave of thinking coming together. It seems no part of the satellite sector is immune from serious change. It is this type of innovation that will drive the industry forward over the next few years. Personally, I am still curious as to what impact small satellites will have on our industry. I wonder how the dynamics will change, and also how some of the big players will respond. Will the established players really drive change, or will we see more Blue Origin type stories over the next few years? There seems to be a lot of talk in the industry this year, perhaps more than any other year, but I wonder whether it is just hype, or whether the industry will really see fundamental change (that word again!!!) over the next few years.
Last year, Dan Berkenstock was our Satellite Executive of the Year, and he is one of the new thinkers who is helping revolutionize our industry. It was a relatively new trend for Via Satellite to give this award to a new player like this. But, what is true, is that companies like Skybox Imaging and Blue Origin are challenging the industry. It will be interesting to see what the next wave of success stories after Skybox will be. I am hoping there will be quite a few more!