How commercial space stations could become the final frontier for data and cybersecurity

An artist’s conception exhibits Axiom Space’s proposed space station. (Axiom Space Illustration)

What will commercial space stations be good for? The utility that usually comes up could be their use as space motels, or perhaps zero-gravity analysis labs and factories.

But space trade pioneer Rob Meyerson has a distinct concept in thoughts — and in his position as operating partner at C5 Capital USA, he’s capable of put some cash behind it.

“Looking for new markets is something we’re highly motivated to do,” Meyerson informed GeekWire. “Data storage and compute is one market. Cybersecurity is another.”

The prospects for offering data and safety companies on the final frontier performed an enormous position in C5 Capital’s determination to steer a $130 million funding spherical for Texas-based Axiom Space, which is because of send citizen astronauts to the International Space Station next year and could start laying the groundwork for its own space station in 2024.

“We have a lot of data that’s created in space, but how valuable would it be to actually do compute and storage in space?” Meyerson requested. “We’ve been talking with Axiom about that and helping them to form partnerships. How do we use the C5 portfolio in cybersecurity and threat protection to assist Axiom with their supply chain and their partners, to bring the most advanced technologies to that critically important area?”

In reference to the funding deal, Meyerson has joined Axiom Space’s board of administrators. It’s the newest large transfer for Meyerson, who lives in Tacoma, Wash., and served as the president of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture from 2003 to 2017.

Rob Meyerson

Blue Origin’s Rob Meyerson speaks at the 2016 International Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in New Mexico. (ISPCS by way of YouTube)

Meyerson’s expertise in the space trade goes even additional again than Blue Origin, taking in a six-year stint as senior program supervisor for Kistler Aerospace’s K-1 reusable launch vehicle (which by no means acquired off the floor) and 12 years as an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

But it’s solely been in the previous few years that folks have been speaking severely about creating privately owned outposts in Earth orbit. Space tourism and in-space manufacturing not appear as far out as they as soon as did, and Meyerson believes Axiom Space is well-placed to capitalize on the prospects.

“This is the kind of opportunity that we wouldn’t have been betting on to come if we had done this in 2019,” he stated. “But in 2020, it was perfectly aligned, and we said, ‘OK, well, here are all these services, and let’s invest in the destination.’ There’s only one company out there that has this exclusive contract with NASA to access the node on the ISS, and that’s Axiom Space.”

That doesn’t imply Axiom Space may have the space station market all to itself. Lots of space corporations — together with Sierra Nevada, Bigelow Aerospace, Nanoracks and Meyerson’s previous teammates at Blue Origin — even have plans on the drawing boards.

At the identical time, heavyweights starting from Amazon and Microsoft to Lockheed Martin are wanting into methods to increase cloud computing to the space frontier. Satellite constellations reminiscent of SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon’s yet-to-be-launched Project Kuiper could play an enormous position in these efforts.

What’s so engaging about shifting data processing off the planet?

“Most importantly, there is a lot of data that is generated in space,” Meyerson defined. “We can envision a number of use cases where that data is generated in space, transmitted back to Earth in one part of the world, and there are compute operations done on that data to process it and turn it into actionable data, and then it is transmitted to another part of the world to have action taken on it.”

Space-based processing could dramatically streamline that data movement.

“We believe that doing those computer operations in space is going to reduce the decision timeline by fractions of a second, if not seconds,” Meyerson stated.

So does that imply Axiom Space can be going up in opposition to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure? Not in any respect, Meyerson stated.

“They can definitely draw upon Axiom Space,” he stated. “We have great relationships with those companies, and all of the cloud providers and service providers that work on top of the cloud. I think they’re very obvious choices for partners.”

Speaking of companions, the perils of the previous 12 months have solely confirmed Meyerson’s view that space ventures mesh properly with the remainder of C5 Capital’s investment portfolio, which is heavy with corporations that target large data and cybersecurity.

“The digital transformation of everything we do has been so accelerated during the pandemic,” he famous. “And it’s making us more and more vulnerable. So the combination of two things — becoming more reliant on space for critical infrastructure, and the digital transformation leading to more vulnerability — just makes our investments in cybersecurity more important. And we think the natural application is in space.”

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