Space exploration is an ever-evolving field, and advances in technology have enabled companies to begin exploring new possibilities for projects and businesses in space. There are numerous startups that are harnessing the potential of this sector, and here’s a look at five that could go big.
Founded in 2009, NanoRacks is a commercial space station research facility that develops platforms for customers to design experiments outside of Earth’s atmosphere. The company has conducted over 900 experiments in the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab and launched 290 payloads on its CubeSat Deployer.
Originally founded as Arkyd Astronautics, Planetary Resources is a venture-backed company dedicated to using low-cost robotic spacecraft technology to explore the solar system including near-Earth asteroids which could hold valuable resources or minerals. In 2018, they made history with the first detection of water on an asteroid by their spacecraft.
A British aerospace manufacturer and spaceline established in 2004 by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Virgin Galactic has been working towards providing suborbital spaceflights to paying customers since 2013. Its vehicle VSS Unity was successfully flown into space in December 2018, becoming the first commercially built manned spaceship to reach outer space and completing its third successful flight into space earlier this year in February 2021.’
Established in 2016, Astra Space is a satellite launch company based out of Alameda, California that specializes in launching small satellites quickly and cheaply from any location around the world with their mobile rocket launcher Starry Night 1A Flacon 918+. The Falcon 918+ is capable of delivering up to 600kg in weight into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Headquartered in San Francisco, Spire Global is a global data company leveraging data collected from satellites orbiting around Earth as well as ground stations located around 70 countries worldwide. It focuses on collecting multiple types of data such as weather forecasting, maritime tracking services, and aircraft information with its constellation of nanosatellites while remaining compliant with government regulations throughout its operations so far.