A detailed study to explore the future of Industrial Internet of Things and their applicability to the Energy and Space industries based on the criteria of Unmanned and Remote operations is highly desirable. This is a synergistic technology with mutual benefits to both the energy and the aerospace fields.
The nature of this technology and its applicability can encounter various challenges that will need to be assessed. These challenges include engineering, applications, business cases, and policy, among others. These devices will primarily be internet-connected sensors and may be used to provide environmental metrics about extraction sites. By fully optimizing the IoT solutions available, an oil and gas company will be able to leverage analytics to improve business and enhance process safety by deploying automated monitoring systems across major facility components.
The IoT environment could present numerous advantages for various space applications as well, including creating lighter vehicles due to fewer cables, and a greater payload capacity. It will also allow measuring important parameters, which may be difficult to instrument and deploy with conventional wiring systems.
The global space industry continues to robustly grow, with highly involved countries seeing sustained support and economic benefit that has endured global financial challenges and political shifts. Other locations with strong high technology economies, especially in science and engineering, are eager to engage their enterprises and gain market traction in part of the global space economy.
Without an existing, comprehensive space industry presence, it is hard to understand where the opportunities and challenges will be found. Space has thrived as a governmental activity, or in situations where the market is somewhat artificial. As purely commercial activities, space technology development, applications and exploration are taking their very first steps. Diverse businesses have been enabled or extended through connecting their activities to some part of the space industry value chain, and diverse businesses have failed attempting the same trick.
This project is about examining how strategic roadmaps are developed, in which conditions they can prove to be useful, and how they can be used to build capacity and activity in the space sector. The project team will consider what has worked in some regions and countries, and if there are any general principles or ‘drivers’ that can be identified as essential pre-requisites. Policy ideas – and constraints – will be explored to support space-connected enterprises of all sizes, including how non-spacefaring countries might attract large companies to expand or relocate into their territory.
Geographical factors, higher education and research institutes, financial conditions, graduate mobility and other considerations will arise. Not all issues are relevant to every location, and multiple scenarios will need to be explored during this short project. It is complementary to the team project about entrepreneurial activity in the space domain, as both projects will take a ‘step back’ from the hype around new space business, and seek to understand practical realities and how they manifest in distinct contexts.
Besides this broader analysis and roadmap development, the team undertaking this project are presented with the following challenge: develop the foundations for a ‘Space Industry White Paper’ to be delivered to the Government of Ireland as a key piece of actual future strategy.
A revolution is underway as the commercial space industry is starting to take off. Aerospace companies are now able to attract new customers to the emerging space market and there is less and less dependence on government stimuli. This dynamic global context carries the promise of opening the new frontier to exploration and development in ways not anticipated by the established industry.
Investments from venture capitalists along with novel methodologies to raise capital, such as crowdsourcing, are providing opportunities for entrepreneurial space companies to gain a foothold in this expanding market. Investments between 2005 and 2012 were estimated at around US$12B--and this support is expected to continue as the new industry develops.
Several facets of the nascent space economy have shown potential for commercialization. Selling data sets and mobile applications, utilizing existing space systems to develop completely new products, creating new technologies, and spinning-out space technology to other sectors are at least as economically important as launching innovative capabilities into space. ISU alumni have created multiple successful space companies around the world, and this TP should be a catalyst able to jump start many more successful ventures.
The goals of this project are:
- Identify and prioritize the potential success criteria of emerging space markets for entrepreneurial companies;
- Characterize the large-scale economic structures of space activity in different space regimes (suborbital, orbital, and deep space), and their influence on small-scale startup activities;
- Interact and discuss with successful space entrepreneurs to understand the factors that accelerate and inhibit start-up success.
The Tasks of this project are:
- Create a ‘How To’ web application to support the set-up of a space company from A to Z, identifying what are the basic requirements and attributes of a successful company (also capturing regional differences in approach, regulatory and legal issues, capital requirements, etc);
- Develop an example business plan for a new space company taking advantage of the information developed for this TP;
- Establish a roadmap and engage the stakeholders for the ongoing maintenance of the online manual.
This team project will investigate the feasibility of repurposing the International Space Station (ISS) after the completion of its primary mission in 2024. Some of the current ISS modules may well be fully capable of serving as components of a future mission (e.g., a space hotel, a cislunar cycler, or as part of a new station). Identifying which parts these are, and how to deal with the engineering, operations and policy problems of reusing them is the main focus for this team project.
In addition to the feasibility study, a further case study to provide detailed focus for this team project will be a conceptual design of the conversion of the ISS to another application to be selected by the team. For example, using telerobotics and construction workers where necessary, the ISS would be partly dismantled and then reassembled in low Earth orbit (LEO) using a mix of existing modules and new, purpose-built and launched modules. When complete, the new station would be accelerated using high-powered electric propulsion to become part of a new application architecture.
The ISS is the most expensive object ever created by humanity, however eventually the present mission of the ISS will end. Nominal end-of-life disposal for space stations is to deorbit and burn up as much as possible in the atmosphere. It would be a shame and a great waste to deorbit the ISS at the end of its life and have it burn up, as did Skylab, Salyut and MIR. The orbital energy of the huge ISS is a costly asset. The mass of the ISS in LEO is extremely valuable even if it is only used as raw material.
If its orbital life can be extended there may be an opportunity for innovative applications of the ISS or of its parts, such as raising it into a high, long-duration orbit for future use or disassembling and reassembling some modules into a new station for other uses. Problems of radiation, deconstruction techniques, generation of orbital debris, risk assessment, ownership, international cooperation, and costs of repositioning and repurposing are some of the challenges posed by this project.
This team will investigate possible continuations of the life of the ISS, such as ascent into a monument orbit, reassembly of parts (plus new modules) into a cislunar cycler, or extraction of modules to be joined into a new station with added international partners such as China. This project could start a useful international discussion of possible longer term futures of the ISS. Planning should begin now to establish a policy baseline and some feasibility knowledge about what to do with ISS at the end of its primary mission.
- Perform a feasibility study of repurposing the ISS after the end of its primary mission.
- Identify strategies for dealing with existing ownership and use policies among the ISS partners to enable repurposing of the station.
- Conduct a conceptual design for ISS repurposing. The team will select an application and concept for reuse using all or part of the ISS.
- Devise the required international policy, management, roadmap planning and budgeting arrangements to enable sustainable use and maintenance of the new application in support of future space programs (such as lunar settlement, exploration, commercial and science programs). Ideally this would include additional national or commercial participation.
- Publish an influential report.