Reusable Space Tugs
Plasmos is building reusable space tugs to address the last-mile problem in space. We get to know their founder, Ali, and explore the significance of their solution in the context of the emerging space economy.July 21, 2022 · 2 min read
Plasmos is building space tugs for last mile delivery. They are solving a problem that has emerged as a result of the increased access to space. As companies like SpaceX continue to bring down the costs to launch satellites into orbit, more and more entities are seeing commercial opportunities in space. This has led to an explosion in the number of satellites currently in orbit. Ali has a fascinating story an exciting vision for the future. We explore both in our most recent video.
Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is getting crowded
A total of 1,713 commercial satellites were deployed during 2021 (based on the 2022 Annual report issued from the Satellite Industry Association (SIA)), an increase of more than 40 percent when compared to the numbers in 2020 — more than 80% of those satellites are considered small to medium spacecraft. Elon Musk via Starlink has publicly stated his goal of sending upwards of 40,000 satellites into orbit over the next few decades. To put it simply, it's starting to get crowded in LEO, and satellite operators are looking for cheaper ways to move their equipment around.
Access to Space
What we find most interesting about Ali and Plasmos, is that any of this is possible. A decade or so ago and the concept of a space tug being built by a young entrepreneur would have sounded like science fiction. But a lot has changed. Not only has Elon Musk proved that a small nimble startup could achieve what only the world's most powerful nations had done before him, but he has inspired an entire generation in the process. He has shown space is possible. Perhaps even more importantly, he has increased access to space, and unlocked opportunity for future space entrepreneurs.
Artemis & The Next Frontier
We are so excited about the emerging space economy. With increased access will come a wave of innovation and entrepreneurship. For sure space is still incredibly hard, but Musk showed it is possible. In the near term, the demand for high levels of maneuverability will require creative propulsion solutions. There will also be the need for refueling of satellites, and as we make our way back to the moon via NASA's Artemis project, there will be high-demand for the transport of goods through Cislunar space. We are just at the beginning of what promises to be a burgeoning economy in space.