Near Earth LLC (“Specialists in Satellite, Telecom, and Aerospace Investment Banking”) has posted its latest newsletter: From The Ground Up – January_2011 (pdf).
It includes an interesting article by Ian Fichtenbaum, who seems to focus on NewSpace related areas, titled There’s Plenty of Room at the Top. It begins as follows:
“Surely and steadily, commercial space activities have crept further along in both their development and their public prominence. Every few weeks brings a new headline to the news about a new accomplishment by Virgin Galactic or SpaceX or any of the many other ventures planning to do things no commercial company has done before. These are exciting times and it is equally exciting to have a front row seat for these developments and be able to see things as they get started. 2010 has been a great year and 2011 promises to hold more progress to come.
For casual viewers, this narrative has been that of startups and entrepreneurs stepping up to offer services that have long been the exclusive domain of government. This is not entirely accurate, as many commercial entities vying to participate in this market are also very established, large companies that are now offering services that are more in keeping with the newer, fixed-price commercial procurement practices that NASA is seeking to adopt.
However, there is another, more subtle, misconception about this new industry. At first glance, the ecosystem appears divided between aerospace firms providing systems and engineering services (e.g. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and so forth); and operators which seek to provide commercial services on platforms which they intend to develop (e.g. SpaceX, Orbital, Virgin Galactic and others). This duality entirely ignores many players, like satellite operators or payload integrators, which don’t fit into either category, but which we think will also play a large role in the evolution of this industry.
We would like to highlight some of these companies to give a larger picture of the kind of activities we will start seeing in the next few years as many new space companies enter commercial operation. This list certainly isn’t and isn’t meant to be comprehensive and we are probably leaving out many others of importance, but we think it’s a good start.”