SpaceX's "Mega Constellation" Is Driving Demand for This New Tech
Earlier this week, there was a near catastrophe in outer space, and it’s shining a light on a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity.
The European Space Agency’s (ESA) $530 million Aeolus satellite was almost struck by a foreign object on Wednesday in a collision that would have sent dangerous amounts of space debris orbiting around the Earth.
The object that almost collided with Aeolus wasn’t a random meteor or an asteroid. It was actually another satellite, Starlink 44, which belongs to Elon Musk’s highly respected private venture SpaceX.
According to SpaceX, an apparent bug in the company’s on-call paging system was at fault for the two satellites getting too close for comfort. The organizations had initially determined that there was no threat of a collision, but thanks to diligent tracking by the U.S. Air Force, the ESA was notified of the threat.
When the ESA realized the Aeolus was in danger, it took immediate action to remove the satellite from harm's way. The Agency initiated a rare but necessary maneuver to successfully avoid collision.
The ESA would later tweet:
The near-collision is especially significant because it was the first time a so-called “mega constellation” threatened to collide with another space asset, and it certainly won’t be the last.
You see, Starlink 44 was launched in May with a batch of 60 other small satellites. That batch was just the beginning of a planned 12,000-satellite constellation being deployed by SpaceX, dubbed Starlink.
The ultimate goal of Starlink is to provide broadband internet access across the entire globe by blanketing Earth with low-flying satellites. The planned constellation will nearly quadruple the number of satellites currently in Earth’s orbit, greatly heightening the need for collision avoidance in space.
SpaceX, mind you, is not the only company launching one of these mega constellations:
- Google is expected to launch a 1,000-satellite constellation to cover 75% of Earth.
- Amazon plans to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites known as “Project Kuiper.”
- Boeing recently proposed a constellation of 2,900 satellites.
- OneWeb just received FCC authorization to launch its 720-satellite constellation, with 1,260 more to follow.
- Telesat is working on its own constellation of 512 satellites.
All told, that adds up to over 21,500 new satellites in these future mega constellations.
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Considering that a collision avoidance maneuver was required only three months after SpaceX launched just 60 of its satellites, it’s glaringly obvious why satellite propulsion technology is about to see explosive demand.
The fact is that every one of these new satellites will need its own satellite propulsion system, not only to avoid hitting other satellites but also simply to remain in orbit.
For investors, these mega constellations present a very unique investment situation, as there are very few companies capable of providing this technology.
Simply put, there is one company with the intellectual property portfolio to dominate this industry for the next decade. It’s a little known and publicly traded space firm with 120 patents related to satellite propulsion.
Right now, the world’s most prominent tech mavericks are locked in a rivalry over this technology, and the company smack in the middle of them is poised to reap tremendous reward.
Until next time,
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