Space industry is slowed down for one major reason

Michael_collins_training_apollo_11Almost every media has already covered a shift in a way many companies work these days — going remote. This change comes in the best possible time when we have an adequate infrastructure for that, as well as a boom of innovation that requires a lot of diverse inputs, that a company sometimes cannot achieve being limited by geographical boundaries of a physical office.

The benefits of working remote, besides a much broader access to some of the brightest minds in the world, are numerous. Globally diverse input makes the product more universal; spelled communications foster clarity between the team members; no need in a fancy office that might not be that fancy and comfortable for everybody; better work/life balance for your team that doesn’t spend 1–3 hours a day in a commute.

The first to make the shift were tech companies, big and small ones, private and public in the majority of industries. So why does space industry still stay away from remote? There is a number of obstacles:

  • a lot of work with physical objects. At the same time, there are not many software options that allow engineers to work online on their projects with live sharing of their designs and collaborate with colleagues.
  • proprietary information handling. We hear sometimes about security breaches that happen to private and government organizations. And though a lot of solutions have been proposed, many companies still fear the consequences of those events.
  • a difficulty of entry into the space industry. It’s not that way easy to launch a startup that wants to challenge NASA or SpaceX. Thus we only have big players on the market who traditionally lean towards classic open space offices with not much privacy or quiet areas for focus and innovation.
  • access to equipment. This one is the hardest one to be worked around for the remote. But not all the team members, not all the time need to be present at facilities.

These obstacles don’t mean that remote is not applicable for the aerospace industry. All they show is that we need a set of collaboration instruments that the space industry could use and benefit from it. Right now one of the main challenges NASA, Roscosmos, SpaceX, Blue Origin and others face — cutting the production costs. So the more minds we bring together, the quicker we figure out how to mine asteroids, launch satellites that deliver crucial information to Earth or establish a settlement on Mars.

The recent news from the USA, where President Barack Obama signed into law the bill that allows resources from the Moon, Mars, asteroids and other heavenly bodies to be extracted, used and sold for commercial exploration and utilization, could give a push to incredible innovations and breakthroughs. All we need to do is to make it easier for space peeps to collaborate.

Just imagine if we open up space industry by designing international space standards, unified platforms and tools and add to that global talent, how much more effective we can become on our path to researching, understanding and exploring space.

In the nearest future I expect to see two main things happening:

  1. somebody will build an effective collaboration toolset for the engineers within mechanics, physics, chemistry, biology etc.
  2. someone will launch a space startup, build an international team of the best minds and show that even within such a rigid industry as space remote can work

From the Medium


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