CAMBRIDGE, MA—The new space race will rely more on cooperative partnerships than on head-to-head competitions among companies, according to Alan Campbell, the keynote speaker at the upcoming Geo Week 2022 conference. Campbell, an aerospace engineer at Draper—one of the original space companies, with a heritage in space that started with the Apollo Program—says “cooperative partnerships will knit together the capabilities for the next missions to space in ways better than those of any single company.”
Campbell, a Space Systems program manager at Draper, will join the Geo Week conference as a keynote to discuss why breaking down the walls between industries and looking for tech in unlikely places can bring us closer to solving complex technical challenges—including the future of working in space.
“At Geo Week, I will address the interplay between technologies built for earth and those built for space. Currently, there is a convergence underway, especially among companies intending to bring their technologies and operations to space. Geo Week will give us a chance to discuss a range of use cases,” Campbell said.
Cooperative partnerships are already helping the space industry grow, Campbell says. “There is a growing convergence among companies and technologies to build a space economy. For example, there is already coordination between geospatial technology and the space market around the rapid development of earth-sensing satellites and better data analytics. Another area is autonomous vehicle technology, which is vital to space missions, including landing on the moon.”
Draper is a team member on several missions to space, including the moon, the asteroid belt, Mars and deep space. Today Draper contributes to NASA’s Artemis program, including Gateway, Orion, the Human Landing System and the Space Launch System (SLS), and develops technologies for human spaceflight, space exploration and commercial missions to low earth orbit and beyond.
Numerous reports say the space economy is booming, with some estimates projecting it to reach $1 trillion by 2040. In 2021, more companies sent people on suborbital and orbital trips to space than ever before. Last year was also a highpoint for private rocket launches, and satellite manufacturing is also on the upswing. Overall, the space sector is riding a five-year trend of uninterrupted growth, according to the Space Foundation in a recent report.
Draper has made important contributions to the country’s space program, including the Apollo program, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station and now the Artemis program—in fact, Draper received the first major contract on the Apollo Program. Draper is also actively working with commercial space companies that are a fast growing segment of the space economy.