MIAMI: Saudi Arabia and the UAE are playing a “critical role” in the future of space exploration, the boss of a major investment firm has told a panel of industry experts in Miami.
Brian Hook, the vice-chairman of Cerberus, told the FII forum that countries like the Kingdom and the UAE had greatly accelerated a new space race. “By putting both their people and their funding behind (it), they brought into existence this sort of new space economy,” he said.
He and other panelists examined the potential for development and investment in the space industry, and spoke about the breakthroughs and dynamics that make it appealing to the general public, investors and enterprises.
Hook said that allowing the private sector into the market had gained fresh momentum, and the overall market value was expected to surpass $1 trillion in the coming years.
“Private equity and venture capital have been funding and enabling some of the most innovative companies for space exploration,” he said.
Helene Huby, CEO of The Exploration Company, which wants “affordable, sustainable and open” space exploration, said there had been a renaissance in the industry in the last few years.
“We are living in the third revolution. The first was the Apollo mission, which was about access. The second was the industrialization of space exploration with the International Space Station,” Ruby said.
“And what we see now is a revolution that is not about access, it’s not about costs and industrialization. It’s about staying in space.”
Speakers said that current enthusiasm around space exploration and increased investments would play a critical role in addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including climate change, food shortages and droughts.
“One of the things that people don’t consider is the effect that human spaceflight has not only on the people that fly but also the people on the ground,” said Jane Pointer, founder of carbon-neutral spaceflight company Space Perspective.
“Space is a great contribution to humanity,” added Alan Pellegrini, CEO of Thales North America, a defense and aerospace company.
“I was young at the time but Neil Armstrong’s landing on the moon transformed my life and inspired me to a career in aerospace. And I think it is having the same effect on younger generations today.”
“Space has always been a place where you can collaborate regardless of which nation you belong to, and I really hope that that spirit continues,” he added.