Science and Exploration

Why The Space Industry Needs A Space College

By Keith Cowing
June 27, 2022
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Why The Space Industry Needs A Space College
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According to the Space Foundation’s annual report, the global space economy netted $447 billion in 2020.
Commercial space activity alone rose to nearly $357 billion, representing 80% of the total space economy. Launch attempts, which totaled 145, were the highest in history.

The formation of a campus–a “space college,” if you will–committed to expanding humanity’s progress beyond Earth could reimagine who gets a chance at an aerospace career and accelerate timelines for future missions.

These figures highlight a five-year trend of uninterrupted growth, encompassing space tourism, research on Mars, and major steps towards sending a crew to the Moon again. Interest in the cosmos appears unwavering, and experts estimate the industry will generate $1 trillion or more in 2040.

These efforts require highly skilled and enthusiastic workers. From programming the self-driving Perseverance rover to designing more durable spacesuits, immense skill goes into every aspect of off-world exploration whether it is done by humans or robots–or both.

That’s why the space industry needs a dedicated university for aerospace studies and related career paths. The formation of a campus–a “space college,” if you will–committed to expanding humanity’s progress beyond Earth could reimagine who gets a chance at an aerospace career and accelerate timelines for future missions. By nurturing a new generation of astronomers, scientists, engineers, and business leaders in one place, a centralized college, with a global reach to anyone who is interested, would serve an important role in launching a truly spacefaring economy.

Oh yes, when the word “campus” is used it is done so in a 21st century context. In a post-pandemic world, where you are physically located no longer need limit who you can work with. When you take into consideration that the exploration and utilization of space will span distances where interaction is limited by the speed of light, various modes of interaction–many asymmetric–need to be factored into how the space economy operates. As such, this “space college” needs to be wherever you are.

As with any training that involves technology and travel, the hardware you train on and the places where you use it can require you to be physically present. As such, a virtual space college must be paired with a physical one. If you do it right, you can connect nearby and remote locations to function as one. In many cases existing capabilities can be brought together to act as one, with an emergent property being a space college that is both personal and distant. And instead of being wholly limited by “bricks and mortar,” such a space college would be open to anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection–even a slow one.

Continue reading at The Space Review

Also – have a look at SpaceCollege.org

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.