SpaceX’s Starship has the power to make or break the next phase of the space economy, says GlobalData

As SpaceX scrambles to resolve production issues on Starship’s Raptor engines ahead of its orbital test flight in early 2022, the future of the company and the wider space economy hangs in the balance, says GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that, if successful, Starship’s usable payload and quick turnaround will dismantle key commercial barriers to entry, unlocking future growth. Failure, however, will irreparably shake investors’ faith in the industry.

GlobalData’s report, ‘Tech, Media, & Telecom (TMT) Predictions 2022 – Thematic Research’, notes that Starship increases the prospect of lunar and mars landings, opening a new frontier for the emerging space economy.

Francesca Gregory, Associate Analyst on the Thematic Team at GlobalData, comments: “SpaceX has made great strides in making space commercially viable, but Starship is by far its most ambitious and risky project. Operating at the edge of the laws of physics, the launch vehicle’s unrivaled payload and turnaround time will see space assume a similar business model to commercial aviation. If Starship can operate effectively, it will be a watershed moment. Access to space will be unparalleled, unlocking the potential for a commercial space boom.”

Increased ridesharing will see commercial space activity become more affordable.

Gregory explains: “Where previously space has been the domain of governments and a limited number of companies, the next phase of the space economy will see start-ups form part of this ecosystem. Start-ups that capitalize on the prospect of planetary landings—including both the Artemis program and Musk’s quest for Mars—will be rewarded by investors hungry for growth opportunities.”

Similarly, if Starship’s turnaround fails to fulfil the rapid reusability dream like its Space Shuttle predecessor, this will have a significant effect on the burgeoning space economy.

Gregory adds: “Recent years have seen a trend of enhanced SPAC(e) activity as start-ups make the most of SpaceX’s momentum. A critical failure from Starship will shake confidence in the industry, stifling investors’ appetites for risky bets. It is clear that the outcome of the orbital test flight has repercussions for wider space economy funding.”

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