Dynamic Small Satellites in a Dynamic Economy
Design to cost, COTS, faster cheaper better, smaller is beautiful, affordable access to Space, all these buzz words echoed in the conferences of small satellites in the last few decades. In 2008 an announced recession hit the world economy with an unpredicted violence affecting the most disparate market sectors and public spending. As consequence, Nations cut investments in infrastructures, among which Space.
While the dust of turbulent economic environment is still settling down, it is important to question how the small satellites business is being affected by the evolving economy. Any turbulent time generates sudden changes but also new opportunities, so dynamism to adapt to a rapidly changing environment may become a survival necessity. Five years after the start of the recession, is there any lesson learned we can already use? How does the future look like? What can space companies and institutions do to cope with the different economic situation? Are new financing schemes, as crowdsourcing, a viable solution for small satellites? Are Business Incubators and spin-off ways to foster innovation and retain know-how? Venture Capitalists, Investor Angels, Kick-start, across borders investments and new communication media: can they influence funding of small space missions? Finally, lower cost means higher risk: is there any innovative approach for a cost-effective risk mitigation? Can on-board autonomy, on-board data processing and direct broadcasting be a paradigm shift for reducing operational costs of space assets?