The Space Shuttle Atlantis is currently on it’s last mission and represents the last mission of the Space Shuttle program. From here, the business of sending people in to space will become a job of, largely, private businesses at least here in the United States. NASA believes that privatizing the space program will not only save the government money at a time where budgets are tight but it will also spawn a wealth of small business growth. Business startups as well as existing small businesses will become designers, suppliers, and innovators of a new program that will lead to new jobs across the country.
One of those companies is already in business and has been supplying the space program for many years. Odyssey Space Research designs and implements systems that most of us wouldn’t understand. According to Odyssey, they specialize in “rendezvous, proximity operations and capture (including automated rendezvous and docking) and other in-space flight phases.” Odyssey Space Research sent two IPhones in to space on the last Space Shuttle mission.
These IPhones are armed with software developed by Odyssey called Spacelab. Spacelab will be left on the International Space Station where four experiments using the software will be performed. By using the IPhone’s built in gyroscopes, sophisticated calculations can be made using their software. The phones will come back to Earth on the next Russian spacecraft sent to recover the returning astronauts.
Another small business who will benefit is SpaceX.
SpaceX believes that through all of the technological advances made, space vehicles have remained unchanged for 40 years. SpaceX is in the market of designing new vehicles that will take people to space including the International Space Station. It was started by Elon Musk, founder of Paypal and have been given funding by NASA to continue in their development of a vehicle that could take cargo to and from the International Space Station. With an array of successful flights already in addition to more than 40 flights scheduled through 2015, SpaceX is already on the forefront of aerospace technology but with the loss of the Space Shuttle program, SpaceX stands to only grow larger.
Each of these companies, and many more, will see their business transform from a small startup to a thriving aerospace powerhouse. With the United States government putting the innovative ball in the court of private business, competition and capitalism will allow aerospace technology to evolve rapidly. For those with skills that are valuable to the aerospace industry, now couldn’t be a better time to start your business.