Space investing is going to the moon!
Space startups received a record $3.2 billion in investments in 2018, higher than any year on record, according to space analytics firm Bryce Space and Technology. Startup funding came from a mix of private investors and large public companies like Boeing, Raytheon and Rolls-Royce.
But 2019’s numbers might easily top 2018’s. In December, Morgan Stanley had its second annual space summit. The event ran out of room.
It’s easy to see why investors are starting to get excited. Although space hasn’t really been a final frontier for startup investment, we’ve entered a new orbit and the profit potential is piling up.
Just last month my Technology Profits Confidential readers were able to profit from the transformation in how we use space when we sold shares of Virgin Galactic (NYSE: SPCE) for a 104% gain in a matter of weeks.
Virgin Galactic became available to public-market investors late last year. As a pure-play space tourism company, it represents a unique opportunity to invest in the emerging space tourism market.
But Richard Branson’s visionary company could hold much more in store. As it works on building out a suborbital zero-gravity fleet that is sure to thrill deep-pocketed passengers, it is also looking ahead to a much bigger market…
Plans are underway at Virgin Galactic to further develop technology to disrupt long-distance travel with point-to-point transit times that would make the retired Concorde look slow by comparison.
But space tourism is just the tip of the iceberg. New ways to access space could open up trillion-dollar markets.
As you know, the way our devices communicate is set for a radical change via 5G. But the 5G promise won’t be real without satellite technology.
And it seems like everyone is getting into the high-speed internet satellite game these days.
Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk is working on his own satellite internet constellation called Starlink. His rocket company SpaceX has already placed 240 satellites into low Earth orbit, and early versions of these birds have been able to communicate with U.S. military aircraft at speeds of 610 megabits per second.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell says the company will complete several more launches this year and start providing service.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos plans on providing a satellite internet service called Kuiper once his rocket company Blue Origin is ready to launch them.
Amazon isn’t waiting for its rockets to be ready to start participating in this market, however. For now, the company is working with other providers that have placed satellites in orbit. Amazon teamed up with Iridium Communications to offer AWS cloud services from space via Iridium’s next-generation constellation.
(Those satellites were themselves recently launched by SpaceX, by the way.)
One day even your existing 4G cellphone could connect to satellites. Only 25% of the world’s landmass has a cellphone tower close enough to connect. But imagine being able to connect anywhere. It could be handy, especially in an emergency. And a new startup called Lynk is exploring that very possibility.
The company is working on satellites that can “trick” smartphones into thinking they are cellphone towers. And as it turns out, your phone has the range to make a connection to low Earth orbit. Lynk recently demoed a device on the International Space Station, 254 miles up. It was able to connect and provide speeds of 180 kilobits per second. That’s not blazingly fast, but it should be enough for voice or text communications.
And it’s not just U.S. companies getting into the high-speed space internet gig, either. Canada has pledged $521 million to help its satellite communications company Telesat into the low-Earth-orbit, fast-broadband game. Overseas, major countries are looking at their own satellite internet deployments. In Russia, there are plans to create an orbital internet satellite cluster by 2025 that will work even if terrestrial infrastructure goes down. China’s Hongyun project could consist of a 156-satellite constellation by 2022.
Interest in the space will only continue to grow. And there are going to be a lot of exciting profit opportunities along the way.
Next month I am attending Satellite 2020 in Washington, D.C. This conference brings together anybody who’s anybody in this space. I’ll be able to talk with many in the space and hope to find some exciting opportunities.
Keep an eye on these pages for updates.
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Chief Technology Expert, Technology Profits Daily