01 Jun 2018 11:50 AM

I came away from three days at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs feeling excited and slightly nervous at the speed of space exploration.

As a business adviser to space industry businesses I see a huge growth in the investment in the sector and in the innovation that’s underway.  What’s clear is that there is still massive untapped potential, so it was interesting to hear what is planned on an international scale.

President Trump is fully behind the space industry, the symposium was opened by Vice President Mike Pence who announced, the National Space Council has been relaunched (no pun) after 25 dormant years; plans to send men to the moon and on to Mars; NASA has been given a grant of $21bn in 2018; and the US is aiming to be the world leader in space.

The following day General John Raymond of the US Air Force went further to elaborate on US plans which included recognising space as a war fighting arena; that space superiority is as important as air superiority; making the National Space Defence Agency operational in 2018; and that this is backed by an additional $7bn in funding in space warfare from the presidents budget.

Dr Tian Yulong of the China Space Agency announced plans to finish a new space station; and the intention to undertake several missions to the moon and one to Mars. 

Shuzo Takada of the Japan Space Agency confirmed that the country’s space policy is now balanced and that Japan’s further ability to defend itself will depend on cyber and space defense. Space technology is being used to advance 3D precision mapping, a benefit to ploughing efficiency and autonomous vehicles.

Emerging space economies also attended, with the UAE and Bermuda agencies represented. UAE announced a 100 year plan which included a Mars probe and a 'Mars City' to be built in Dubai. Bermuda will be focusing on services delivery to the space sector, not on rocket launches or training astronauts. 

It was good to hear that Space exploration is delivering real advances in innovation from the NASA iTech panel which included inventors:

  • Of a plasma injection system that increases the efficiency of airplane motors by 5-6% and would save American Airlines a million dollars a year in fuel costs.  This started out as a high school experiment!
  • Of a multiple sensory stimuli which has been used for people who do not have use of their ears or eyes, it could also be used for fighter pilots to sense where they are being attacked from.
  • Of an IR system capable of disinfecting an entire airplane in 5-9 minutes with 99%+ bacteria kill rate for 9cents (est) a seat.

I always enjoy the Space Symposium, I’m overawed at the exciting developments and possibilities of space exploration and am lucky to be working with leading edge businesses.