26 October, 2015
Money into space

“Space isn’t remote at all. It’s only an hour’s drive away if your car could go straight upwards,” British astronomer and cosmologist Fred Hoyle said back in 1979. It is hard to find a more inspiring phrase, indeed. For entrepreneurs, this is also a call to action. In 2003, the first suborbital spaceplane SpaceShipOne built by the legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan completed the first manned private space flight. SS1, as it is known, reached the border with space (100 km above the Earth) and returned safely. Since then, space tourism has ceased to be a thing of science fiction, turning into a business idea. It is being actively promoted by businessman Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Galactic.

Over the past 15 years, private business has found a footing in the space industry, which had once been enshrined in state secrecy: market volume has reached $320 billion, of which only a quarter can be attributed to the state sector. Private companies build rockets and spaceships (signing contracts with NASA), create low-cost satellites, and develop services based on information provided by satellites. They are also planning on exploring the Moon and asteroids, and want to cover the whole of the Earth with the Internet.

At first, skepticism prevailed: surely all these projects were nothing more than the realization of a child’s dream to become an astronaut. However, it has since become clear that, in addition to the lofty idea of “conquering space”, entrepreneurs are also driven by the opportunity to cash in on the space industry. The situation looks something like this: 1) initial private exploration of space, with the most active and ambitious companies seeking “to stake a claim” to a particular area of space; 2) like in every new undertaking, there will be many failures, bankruptcies and mistakes, as we saw in solar energy and shale gas production; 3) however, the process is underway and it cannot be stopped, with many projects expected to “take off” shortly, for example, the space Internet project; 4) the role of the state is changing, but it is unlikely to withdraw fully.

We will discuss all these matters at our space session. Speakers include the most knowledgeable experts in this area:

Alexei Belyakov, Vice-President and Executive Director of the Space and Telecommunications Technologies Cluster, Skolkovo Foundation

Ilya Golubovich, Partner and Managing Director, I2BF

Sergei Ivanov, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Dauria Aerospace

Denis Lyskov, Deputy Head, Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos)

Burt Rutan, aircraft designer, CEO of Scaled Composites

Vadim Teplyakov, General Director, Yaliny

Dmitry Chernyak, investor, Moon Express

LINK TO THE ARTICLE “Money into space” (in Russian)

Anastasia Dagaeva, Business Development Director, Arbat Capital; columnist for Forbes and Harvard Business Review, moderator of the session “The lure of space: the private sector sets out the conquer extraterrestrial resources”


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