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Going Interstellar: Startups rocketing the Space Race

Space Tourism on the go!

Space was once a byword for fantasy and wonder.Very soon it became an astronaut’s domain. Currently, space is open for everyone. With Rocket and Satellite technology getting more accessible, Moon becomes the eighth continent to live.

Thanks to entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk for leading startups in space exploration arena with their prototypes, Virgin Galactic and Space X.They already announced plans to put private astronauts, a.k.a. space tourists, on orbital or suborbital flights within the next few years. Following them, few other startups made entry.

Initially, a ride on one of these rockets will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars at a minimum. That puts the experience within reach of only the wealthiest people.

Due to advance technology in rocket and capsule designs, prices are expected to go low to the point that people of minimum fortunes are also able to afford a ticket. With growing funds by investors, many startups are seen hitting their stride with a few more joining the troop.Some projections put the global space tourism market at more than $34 billion by 2021. New space start-ups mentioned below are a must watch out.

Earth2Orbit (E2O) is Indian space firm that builds innovative prototypes of living capsules and space suits for astronauts. They also offer launch advisory and consulting services. It played a pivotal role in enabling the launch of the first commercial American micro-satellite on board the PSLV. They also played key roles in negotiating launch deals between India’s space agency and private firms. But their goal is to transport humans to the moon and Mars soon.

Mars One is a not-for-profit organization that aims to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars by 2035. Its mission plan integrates components that are well tested and readily available from industry leaders worldwide. The first footprint on Mars and lives of the crew thereon will captivate and inspire generations; it is this public interest that will help finance this human mission to Mars.

Bellatrix Aerospace, based in Mysore, Karnataka builds new-age satellite propulsion systems and launch vehicles. Dedicated to reducing satellite mission cost, they have their patented electric propulsion systems. The recent one, Microwave Electrothermal Thruster (MET) is what they claim to be more efficient than traditional chemical thrusters as it provides a higher ‘mileage’ and lasts longer.

Axiom Space is Houston-based space startup, building world’s first, privately-funded international commercial space station to host government astronauts, private companies, and individual explorers alike. They’re on a mission to make living and working in space commonplace as a means to sustained deep space exploration and to improve the quality of life here on Earth.

Team INDUS of Axiom Research Labs, Bangalore is part of the Google Lunar X Prize competition to land a privately-funded rover on Moon. It’s supported by many current & former ISRO scientists.At the same time, many companies including Tata Communications, L&T Engineering, and Sasken have provided its backing. Recently, they’re on the lookout for $40 million funding through a mix of both corporate sponsorship and crowd funding before its scheduled lunar rover mission launch this December.

Moon Express is private company based in Florida with plans to land rover on moon and mine from it natural resources of economic value. It signed deal with Rocket Lab in 2015 for three launches aboard the Electron.If Moon Express reaches Moon by end of the year, accomplishing number of tasks expected, it could win US$20 million ($26m) as Google Lunar X PRIZE. Recently, it unveiled grand plans to build fleet of robotic landers by 2020.

World View is America-based -space exploration startup that aims to use altitude helium balloons. In order to achieve the purposes scientific research, space tourism, commercials applications, the startup gently lift people miles (approximately 32 kilometers) above earth. It is led by experts in high-altitude ballooning, veterans of human spaceflight, and team of retired NASA Astronauts. Also they have their own spaceport and helium balloon manufacturing facility. Recently, they were in news for carrying a KFC chicken sandwich into the stratosphere, meeting all test objectives.

Dhruva Space is a private Space company based in Bangalore. It is engaged in development of small satellite platforms in collaboration with Berlin Space Technologies. Their team is supported by host of Ex-ISRO scientists who have huge experience of building Space Industry in India over last 4 decades.

Bigelow Aerospace, based in North Las Vegas, Nevada that manufactures and develops expandable space station modules. They’ve already launched three private space-habitat prototypes into orbit. They’re on a mission to provide safe and low-cost commercial space platforms for low Earth orbit, the moon and beyond.

Stratolaunch is space transportation venture based in Seattle, Washington. It develops new air launch to orbit system. Their enormously huge airplane rolled out recently from its hulking hangar. They intend to use it to send rockets into orbit around the earth, getting ready for test launch by 2020.

As you see above, startups are doing exceptionally well, opening the lunar frontier for all of us. The Newspaceindustry is witnessing a boom. And with entrepreneurial wave sweeping India, many such start-ups are bound to emerge.

This brings to mind a popular quote by Les Brown-‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars’ which seems to be taken seriously by the emerging entrepreneurs in the space race.Hope you liked this article. Which above startups interested you the most? Do let us know in comments section below:

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