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7 Current and Future Breakthrough Space Exploration Technologies for Investors to Monitor 

By Ryan Prete, Sep 28, 2023

Space shuttle orbiting Earth with a clear view of its wings and payload bay doors open, against a backdrop of the planet's surface.

The future of space exploration is incredibly promising, marked by recent unprecedented advancements and boundless horizons. In the coming years and decades, space expiration analysts anticipate the rapid evolution of space exploration technologies, capabilities, and uses.

1. Space Tourism 

Over the next decade, analysts anticipate a dramatic expansion of commercial space tourism ventures. Companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and Axiom Space have already taken significant strides, with suborbital flights becoming more accessible to civilians. These space pioneers are likely to refine their technologies, making space tourism more routine and affordable. 

In the near future, experts believe a growing number of spaceports worldwide, akin to airports for space travel. As competition heats up, prices may become more competitive, enabling a broader demographic to experience the thrill of space. Longer-duration missions, such as trips to space hotels or orbital adventures, could become a reality. Safety protocols and regulatory frameworks will evolve, ensuring a secure experience for space tourists. Furthermore, advancements in spacecraft design and propulsion technologies may reduce travel times to distant destinations like the Moon or even Mars, opening up new horizons for space tourism.

2. Advanced Propulsion 

Advanced propulsion systems represent a frontier of innovation in space exploration and travel. Over the next decade, breakthroughs in this field are poised to revolutionize our ability to reach distant celestial bodies and explore the cosmos more efficiently. 

One promising approach could significantly shorten travel times to extraterrestrial destinations like Mars is Nuclear Propulsion, which uses nuclear reactions to heat propellant and generate thrust. Nuclear Propulsion reduces the risks associated with long-duration space missions. Additionally, advancements in solar sail technology, which harness the momentum of photons from the Sun, offer a sustainable and continuous means of propulsion for deep-space missions. Future improvements to advanced propulsion systems are not only critical for human space exploration but also for scientific missions, allowing humans to reach distant asteroids, comets, and exoplanets with greater precision and speed.

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3. Asteroid Mining 

Asteroid mining represents a promising and pioneering frontier in space exploration and resource utilization. In the coming years, this sub-industry of space exploration is poised to make significant strides, potentially transforming the way we access and utilize resources in space.

Asteroids are rich in valuable materials like precious metals, water, and rare minerals. Harvesting these resources could alleviate resource scarcity on Earth and reduce the cost of future space missions. Water, for instance, can be converted into rocket fuel, enabling deeper space exploration. Asteroid mining’s estimated value ranges greatly, with some NASA reports citing estimations in the trillions of dollars. Several companies are actively researching and developing technologies for asteroid mining. These ventures are working on spacecraft capable of prospecting, capturing, and extracting valuable materials from asteroids.

4. Geostationary Communications 

Geostationary communications capabilities have revolutionized global telecommunications and broadcasting. Geostationary satellites, positioned at a specific altitude and orbital velocity, appear to hover stationary over a fixed point on Earth’s equator. 
These unique characteristics allow for constant and reliable communication with ground-based stations, making them ideal for various applications. Companies like Astranis–which is now available on the Linqto platform–are enabling a wide range of services like satellite TV broadcasting, internet connectivity, and long-distance telephony. Astranis’ satellites are providing vast coverage areas, ensuring connectivity even in remote or underserved regions. Geostationary satellites are also essential for Earth observation and weather forecasting; providing continuous monitoring of specific regions, tracking weather patterns and environmental changes.

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5. Reusable Rockets 

Reusable rockets have emerged as a game-changing innovation in the realm of space exploration. Over the past decade, companies like SpaceX have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of launching and landing rockets multiple times, ushering in a new era of cost-effective and sustainable space travel.

The foremost and most key development behind reusable rockets is their ability to reduce the astronomical costs associated with space missions. By recovering and refurbishing rocket components after each launch, pioneering companies like SpaceX have significantly lowered the price tag for getting payloads into orbit. This breakthrough has opened up opportunities for more frequent and ambitious space endeavors, from launching satellites and resupplying the International Space Station to enabling lunar missions and the eventual colonization of Mars.

6. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is already playing a pivotal role in space exploration, enhancing the capabilities of spacecraft and enabling more ambitious missions. Companies like Axiom Space, SpaceX, Astranis, and Blue Origin are expected to more heavily rely on artificial intelligence to assist with space exploration capabilities including autonomous navigation, robotic space explorations, data analysis, space weather predictions, and much more. 

In long-duration space missions, AI optimizes resource management;  overseeing life support systems, energy generation, and food production, while ensuring the sustainability of missions beyond Earth’s orbit. Furthermore, AI enhances deep space communication by autonomously adjusting signal routing, modulation, and bandwidth allocation, making interplanetary communication more efficient and reliable.

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7. Mars Colonization 

Revolutionary space exploration companies like SpaceX are working to eventually colonize our neighbor planet Mars. Mars colonies are expected to initially focus on scientific research and resource exploration, but as infrastructure grows, opportunities for commercial ventures could arise; include mining valuable minerals, growing food, and supporting interplanetary tourism.

Key developments needed to achieve a possible colonization of Mars will include advanced spacecraft for safe travel and innovative habitats that provide life support and protection from the harsh Martian environment. Research into sedentary resource utilization will also be crucial, in turn allowing colonists to extract water from the Martian soil and generate oxygen and rocket propellants locally. 

Read more about the future of investing in the space economy

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Conclusion: Space Exploration Technologies

From revolutionary propulsion systems to advanced robotics and artificial intelligence, the investment landscape in space technology is evolving at an exhilarating pace. Investors keen on navigating this cosmic frontier should keep a watchful eye on these transformative technologies, as they not only hold the key to unlocking new realms of understanding in space but also present compelling opportunities for those seeking to be at the forefront of this thrilling journey into the cosmos. As the space industry continues to innovate and push boundaries, these technologies stand as testament to humanity’s unwavering commitment to explore the unknown, making space exploration an intriguing and potentially rewarding avenue for forward-thinking investors. Have thoughts or experiences to share on this topic? Dive into the discussion and leave your insights in the comments section below!

This material, provided by Linqto, is for informational purposes only and is not intended as investment advice or any form of professional guidance. Before making any investment decision, especially in the dynamic field of private markets, it is recommended that you seek advice from professional advisors. The information contained herein does not imply endorsement of any third parties or investment opportunities mentioned. Our market views and investment insights are subject to change and may not always reflect the most current developments. No assumption should be made regarding the profitability of any securities, sectors, or markets discussed. Past performance is not indicative of future results, and investing in private markets involves unique risks, including the potential for loss. Historical and hypothetical performance figures are provided to illustrate possible market behaviors and should not be relied upon as predictions of future performance.

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Ryan Prete

Ryan Prete

Ryan is a financial writer for Linqto, known for his original blog content, articles, and other works. He previously worked as a financial writer at PitchBook Data, where he covered private equity, and as a reporter for Bloomberg in Washington D.C.,where he reported on tax policy. Ryan has also reported on cybersecurity policy for Inside Washington Publishers. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Axios, Yahoo News, and Reuters. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara.