The era of spaceports has arrived!
Up to recently, a spaceport was an institutional investment, to serve the needs of limited guaranteed access to space.
But today the whole space economy is gigantic. It is an inverted pyramid, with tens of thousands of space-based services, thousands of satellites, tens of launchers, and just few spaceports…
The whole space economy is turning low cost and private.
It is time to provide ground segment services for launchers that are flexible, business oriented, and at affordable prices. Services that are efficient and sustainable, not permanently supported by public fundings.
Yes we wrote “ground segment services”, not “ground segment infrastructures”.
The current situation is that a launcher develops its own infrastructure and proximity means. It is like if every car should develop and maintain its own gas station!
The future of spaceports is interoperability, i.e. sharing of common infrastructures, means and logistics, and running on standardized operations.
And if means and infrastructures are communalized, the client buys a service, rather than buying the means!
We create a new business model: ground segment service provider.
There will be soon spaceports everywhere: on land, on sea, on ship, in orbit, on the Moon, and beyond.
And we are spaceport architects.
The ground segment for launchers is the weakest link in the global space economy.
Space-based service are turning low-cost. Satellites are turning low-cost. Launchers are turning low-cost. Ground segment is not.
Reasons are manifold:
The more you launch the more you need infrastructures: there are threshold effects.
Evolution of the launcher:
With reusability, there will be more ground means and operations.
Ground segment as always been developed specifically, as a necessary constraint of a launcher program. Ground segment has never been developed to serve the needs of several launchers.
By developing interoperability, we are dramatically turning this situation around.
Interoperability means that on one hand, a launcher can use the same ground segment solutions for all its life phases (engine testing, stage testing, launches), and on the other hand, for a given life phase same equipment can serve the needs of various launchers.
Ground segment is no longer cost centred. It becomes profit centred.