Skoltech researchers and their colleagues from Russia and Serbia have reviewed almost a thousand patents held by some two hundred organizations involved in the New Space economy. The analysis helped draw a comprehensive picture of technology trends in the field. The paper was published in the journal Progress in Aerospace Sciences.
"New Space" is a loosely defined term that encompasses the recent flurry of space-related activities coming from smaller actors rather than a handful of space-faring nations. Put somewhat simply, while the Apollo missions were more traditional, SpaceX, Rocket Lab (launching small satellites from New Zealand) or LeoLabs (a space junk tracking company) are undeniably parts of a new and different space economy. In a 2020 paper, Skoltech Associate Professor Alessandro Golkar and Alejandro Salado of Virginia Tech found three distinguishing traits of New Space companies: explicit customer focus, new product development approaches, and new business models.
"In a nutshell, the main difference relates to how New Space organizations develop their products and how they approach the business. New Space organizations tend to embrace innovative development processes such as agile, have a risk-taker attitude, and focus on profit. This new attitude allows New Space companies to reduce time-to-market and lower the cost of entry to the space business," Skoltech PhD student Nicola Garzaniti says.