Virgin Galactic – The Future of the Space Industry?

While reading about corporate entrepreneurship and writing my book report focusing on Hamilton Sundstrand I was moved to investigate other current entrepreneurial projects in the aerospace industry.

When I think of exciting, new, and innovative projects in the industry I think of Virgin Galactic’s commercial space flight project. Before NASA lost most of its funding, Virgin Galactic started a project to introduce commercial space flight to the world.  For this project they partnered with Northrop Grumman to monopolize commercial space flight for an elite group of customers looking for a unique experience.  Although the project focuses on luxury experience for the wealthier customer, once the vehicles and facilities are in place, Virgin Galactic will be able to expand their market to other companies or research facilities interested in space travel, research, and exploration.  A project that started out as a niche for the wealthy elite will, with time, become more accessible which will expand the customer base.

Although Hamilton Sundstrand is not a venture capital company it is important to note that we are one of the only companies in the word that have extensive experience on space technology.  Hamilton has designed life support systems, air management systems, as well as the space suit for the US space program. While companies like Virgin Galactic amp up to capitalize the closing of the US space program, Hamilton is decreasing the size of their space systems group.  The space travel industry is in flux; companies that have historically been a part of space programs are at a crossroads.  They can either invest in space technology or they can focus on other aspects of their business.  I believe that Hamilton should continue to invest in its space program because of their extensive IP in the space industry that other aerospace companies haven’t achieved. I believe that by divesting our spaces systems group we are missing out on new and exciting entrepreneurial opportunity that other companies believe they can capitalize on and are therefore heavily investing.  As an entrepreneur it is important to see opportunity and evaluate risks, I believe it is riskier to allow core competencies to become dormant than it is to invest in the future of that competency.

2 Responses to “Virgin Galactic – The Future of the Space Industry?”
  1. i would love the opportunity to see space. however, i doubt i ever will. virgin galatic sounds like a great idea and maybe they will get some super rich people to take part but as far as it ever becoming economical for more than the super rich i don’t think so. i dont think there will be hotels in space in my lifetime. there are too many problems to solve and spending money on those problems really doesnt make sense for a company. humans only went to the moon because the government funded it and decided that was where it wanted to pour a ton of money. no company would have spent that money on its own just to go to the moon. it is sad but true. science for the sake of science just doesnt make sense for a company. As far as hs and the spacesuit. i have to work with the government everyday and realize they do stupid things with the taxpayers money. they would rather spend money on administration than product. they also have this attitude that profit is bad. so dealing with the government is expensive and becoming less attractive. add to that mix the fact that nasa is a mess, i dont blame hs for moving away from that business. i know this was kind of a downer post but i’m not sold that there is much money to be made is space, which is really sad because i love learning about space. maybe space robotics has a future though.

    • McMackin says:

      Although there is a soft spot in my heart the space program I do agree that working with NASA is not in the best interest of HS. I do believe though that the knowledge and intellectual property HS has garnered over the last 5 decades could possibly be applied to other industries such as underwater research. There are many companies and governments investing money into researching the depths of our oceans. I have always found it funny that so many humans are fascinated with space when we understand so little of the water that covers our planet. Either way, instead of dissolving one of our core competencies I would like to see it evolve to focus on other industries, or other market segments with in the aerospace industry, such as space robotics as you mentioned above. Sign me up for that program!

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