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Space Tech: Current Opportunities and Challenges

Space technology is considered cutting edge, and this certainly holds true for businesses looking to break into the space industry. Companies that find a niche in the space industry often do so by partnering with established companies. Some prominent space businesses include SpaceX, Blue Origin, Orbital ATK, and General Atomics.

Tech has brought us things that improve our lives, such as smartphones, televisions, and computers. And in the near future, it will likely also bring us more. Space Tech is a group of technologies designed to make living and work in space safer and more efficient. These technologies include everything from space suits to communications equipment and robotics.

  • The Large Space Structures

The Large Space Structures are a class of orbital architectures that are used by humans to explore space. The LSS term applies to any large vehicle, which NASA defines as “a vehicle of more than 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) mass or more than three meters (10 feet) length”. In 2016, NASA announced that it would develop the Block 2 version of the Space Launch System (SLS), the next iteration of the Space Launch System (SLS), and its Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), which together make up the Space Launch System (SLS).

The NASA Space Launch System (SLS) is a heavy-lift rocket built to launch NASA astronauts into deep space. The SLS is designed to be the most powerful rocket ever built, with the capability to lift more than 150 metric tons to low Earth orbit. The SLS will launch some 300 metric tons to low Earth orbit, including cargo and crew, by 2020. The SLS is also NASA’s first new heavy-lift rocket in more than 30 years.

  • The Earth Environment

The Earth is our home. We are privileged to enjoy Earth’s natural resources and to co-exist with our fellow humans on this planet. However, awareness of our interdependence increases, and we feel the urgency to protect the Earth. The Earth’s environment is important not only for our own survival but also for the survival of other life forms, such as plants and animals.

Throughout the NASA Explorer Schools program, students focus on numerous science and technology topics. Projects can range from space weather research and service-learning events to water quality monitoring and campaigns on the effects of plastics in our ecosystem. In 2020, Explorer students will have the opportunity to tackle the issue of climate change. Topics such as solar energy, keeping silicon manufacturing in the U.S., and characterizing the impact of climate change on the Earth’s environment will be part of the curriculum.

  • The Low-Cost Space Technologies

Traditional space technology is expensive. Satellites, robotics, and deep space missions are typically extremely expensive, and even the smallest satellites cost tens of millions of dollars to launch. This high cost has, until recently, limited the number of satellites that can be launched into space and has made space missions touch-and-go endeavors.

NASA is working hard to explore the cosmos and eventually settle other planets. This high-technology research has led to one of the biggest tech and space jobs. It’s a job responsible for designing, building, and operating space systems and vehicles. The job of space technology is about taking complex concepts, like NASA’s spacesuits, making them simpler, cheaper, and safer.

Space Tech: Current Opportunities and Challenges (STC) is a research program at the Space Studies Board (SSB). STC’s mission is to identify, develop, and exploit space-based capabilities to address pressing societal needs. The program leverages the scientific and technical expertise of SSB and NASA to explore emerging space technologies, including CubeSats, space robotics, additive manufacturing, and other fields.

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