VIDEO: Democratizing Access to Space
James Anderton posted on January 09, 2019 |

The next fifteen years will see a remarkable proliferation of commercial opportunities in space – everything from asteroid mining to orbital tourism. Engineering.com’s Jim Anderton recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike Greenley, Group President of MDA Corporation, and George Randell of Siemens PLM, to learn about these opportunities and about the challenges engineers will have to overcome in order to make those opportunities a reality.

“There are two elements right now that we talk about in terms of the new space economy.  One is the economy and low-earth orbit, where there’s been a shift from geosynchronous orbit and toward closer to Earth and Low-Earth orbit, where our current International Space Station orbits about 400 to 600 kilometers from Earth.  In that orbit, we’re seeing a lot of commercial activity, so the barriers to entry now are quite low,” said Mike Greenley. 

“Many companies can now get access to a rocket for launch, and put a satellite in orbit for Earth observation, communications or tracking things.”

George Randell offered insights into the capabilities of new design software helping teams develop the systems of systems required to develop the new era of space vehicles.  “We believe PLM software is the key,” Randell said.  “Aerospace structures and the products of the aerospace industry are really systems of systems.  The impressive thing is the size and scale, and of course there’s the human safety factors, and a whole bunch of other complexity that goes into these products.”

Check out the video above for the full discussion about the new space economy and how it will change the aerospace industry during the next decade and into the future.

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