Rolando Grandi, CFA, Fund Manager of Echiquier Space
Do you have to shoot for the moon to land among the stars? Oscar Wilde said it; NASA and the entrepreneurs enamoured with Space 2.0 are planning it! By developing partnerships with the most disruptive companies in the space ecosystem, the US space agency has committed to projects that, at first glance, look like works of science fiction. As part of the 2025 Artemis 3 mission which will put humans back on the Moon, the construction of private space stations is looking to provide long-term facilities in space. These lunar bases could soon be used as gateways for far-flung space exploration, and further reinvent how we use space.
The International Space Station (ISS) will be obsolete by the end of the decade. To replace it, private companies responded to the call from NASA, which has committed to an approach involving partnerships and service contracts. SpaceX and three other companies were selected, including Axiom Space, a start-up founded in 2016 that plans to launch a space station that will initially dock with the ISS before becoming independent.
Like the Lunar Gateway orbital space station project run by NASA, to which the European Space Agency and several private companies are contributing, these next generation space stations are aiming to support long-term exploration on the Moon. SpaceX will launch the first Lunar Gateway modules. Once in lunar orbit, it will be a permanent base – a gateway to the Moon – starting in 2024. Houston-based Nanoracks has also signed a $160 million contract with NASA to design a private space station, Starlab, to develop industrial commercial activity and research in the Earth’s orbit.
This complementary approach to space creates countless opportunities on and above the Earth. The paradigm shift taking place could begin to revolutionise how life in orbit and the space economy operate.
Research is a key factor facilitating these next generation space stations. From optimising water recycling to developing new medicines, printing artificial organs and growing vegetables, the experiments conducted in microgravity – a weightless environment – will provide the answers to scientific and technological challenges. The US company REDWIRE is already able to 3D print machines that will be used to conduct science experiments in orbit. Its future space station, Orbital Reef, the result of a partnership with Blue Origin, will offer equipped logistics modules for rent and will be able to house up to 10 astronauts.
Although investment in space is part of a multigenerational outlook, the beginnings of the space 2.0 revolution already offer infinite opportunities with potential that just needs to be captured. Echiquier Space, the first investment fund in Europe dedicated to space and its ecosystem, shows that La Financière de l’Echiquier is a step ahead. It means that we can participate in this burgeoning new era today, which we believe will have a fundamental impact on our lives and our economy. The odyssey is just beginning. If Lunar Gateway, Axiom Mission 1 and Starlab keep their promises, private space stations could open a gateway to infinity and herald the dawn of a multi-planetary human race. But before that, there will be plenty of launches in 2022. Look up!
This information and this content are in no way to be construed as an investment advice, investment proposal or any encouragement to invest on the financial markets. The information is derived from the best sources in our possession.
The fund is primarily exposed to the risk of capital loss, equity risk, foreign exchange risk, emerging market risk, and sustainability risk. For more information on these funds’ features, risks, and fees, please read the regulatory documents – prospectus available in English and French, KIID in your country’s official languages – available on our website, www.lfde.com.
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