Many people have heard about or remember the great “Space Race” between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1955 to 1972. Both countries fought for supremacy in spaceflight capability for national security measures and as a sign of ideological superiority. New technology resulted from this space exploration age including satellites, micro-technology, and other products that were later sold and commercialized to be used in everyday life. Education in mathematics, engineering, and science rapidly expanded during this period. Times are rather different now as many governments, such as the United States, are cutting space exploration budgets in light of economic hardships. The Economist has even claimed that the current state of the world marks “the end of the Space Age.”
While we may be experiencing the end of the Space Age, there is a likelihood that space exploration will return with high activity in the future for several reasons. New technology and fuel sources might make space travel more cost effective, life may be discovered on another planet, resources may begin to dwindle on earth, and so on. This future increase in space exploration might be viewed as a tremendous benefit for the scientific community, but it is actually also very valuable for the international business community.
Space exploration has many benefits for the international business realm. First of all, space exploration projects require large amounts of human capital, technology, and resources. Due to the sheer size and scope of these projects, international collaboration is often a necessity for success. This was exactly the case for the International Space Station where multiple countries joined together to successfully create a livable space station allowing the longest continuous human presence in space. Space projects like these foster strong and cooperative international relations among countries around the world. Healthy international relations as a result of these collaborative space projects can create a strong foundation for international trade and trade agreements.
Another benefit of space exploration can be found in the future expansion of the private space exploration industry. Many experts predict that the key to successful and cost effective spaceflight is public-private partnerships. Privately built spaceships and robotic vessels already fly supplies to the International Space Station. Companies in the private industry, such as SpaceX, are expected to gain significant influence in space exploration as they develop new technology including reusable rockets and 3D printing to reduce manufacturing costs for space exploration projects. This holds great implications for international business as private space companies require resources that can be obtained through global trade. Large amounts of research and development in these expanding companies will also require top human talent which may be fulfilled by diverse employees from various national origins.
Overall, space exploration benefits both the scientific and international community. By fostering strong relations for global trade and international cooperation, space exploration has benefits that are often overlooked and dismissed by pure economic cost arguments. It is important to keep these international benefits in mind when discussing the viability of future space exploration. Alongside these benefits, perhaps the most important aspect of space exploration is that of our own human nature. By nature, humans are inquisitive explorers, and what better way to find our place in the universe than through space exploration that unites rather than divides.