The recent successes of the NewSpace sector build on and enhance NASA’s and other government agencies’ remarkable experience in spacecraft design and mission operations over the past five decades. In fact, many of the core technologies on commercial instruments, facilities, and spacecraft represent the realization of concepts and patents originally developed with space-related government funding. Still, many knowledge gaps remain in the NewSpace sector.
ASU NewSpace will help our private space partners fill those knowledge gaps by enabling students, faculty, staff, and facilities to serve as incubators for new space science, operations, and exploration concepts and technologies. By directly engaging university R&D, NewSpace companies seeking new areas of expertise, or with limited resources or staff, can maximize efficiency and minimize cost. By working directly with space scientists and engineers in universities, including a highly motivated and capable student work force, NewSpace companies can accelerate their plans and programs. Whether their sector is space operations (e.g., launch, resupply, servicing), resource exploration, tourism, science, spacecraft, software, satellites, 3D printing, propulsion systems, mission systems, payload delivery, satellite imaging and more, partnerships with academia like those that ASU NewSpace will foster can provide critical value-added experience and expertise for private companies needing to develop compelling mission proposals to NASA and other space agencies, to private foundations, or to investors and entrepreneurs. Perhaps most importantly, academic partners like ASU can provide critical and highly-adaptable training of an interdisciplinary NewSpace workforce capable of high performance in a rapidly evolving corporate environment.
The NewSpace sector holds the promise of completely transforming the way our species views its future, much in the same way the mid 20th century airline industry completely transformed the way we live, work, and travel. Arizona State University, with an established reputation for redesigning the landscape of higher education, can play a leading role in helping to realize this promise, initially through our NewSpace Initiative, and eventually through the establishment of a groundbreaking and dedicated educational- and research-focused NewSpace Institute, to become the global driver of academic-commercial partnerships in space.