A New Space: Innovation, Opportunities and Industry

A special panel about the opportunities that lie in space at the Sparks Innovation Summit, in collaboration with IAI

The opening session of the Sparks Innovation Summit this morning (Thursday) dealt with one of the most fascinating subjects out there: space, and the opportunities it presents us all, in Israel and beyond. “The State of Israel took a strategic decision in 1888 to develop space independence – and chose IAI to implement this,” said Aviv Kanelbaum, the Business Development and Marketing Manager of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).

“IAI’s Space Division is full of innovation, and all of this magic is done by only about 600 people. We are a one-stop shop, vertically and horizontally integrated, with launch and ground capabilities, in addition to the satellites themselves. We have satellites for observation, communication, research, nano-satellites, and low-earth-orbit satellites. We also have our own testing facility.

“IAI’s culture of innovation stems from necessity, customer requirements, and business and tech predictions. Our innovation is also done through prediction: as it takes a few years to build a satellite that has a 15-20-year life span, we must anticipate future needs. An example is the development of small, mini satellites – instead of the large, expensive communications satellites. This reduces cost as well as waste, as many satellites get lost in space and do not become operational. Many small satellites, as opposed to one large one, reduce the risk. We must be innovative in order to stay alive and keep in line with all the rest. If we don’t – we might not be here tomorrow.

“At the moment, big money for space is still coming from governments. But the new use cases are endless and opportunities are growing rapidly. I think that in the end, the industry will prevail. The same as drones – they started with governments, which are now buying them from commercial companies.

Jasmin Inbar, VP of Earth Observation and Corporate Development, ASTERRA (established by IAI): The most important thing we do is partner with great collaborators. We need to provide our customers with insights and help them understand how to extract insights from the vast amount of data out there, and can’t do it alone.

“Let’s take for example the water sector, our main sector: We provide high-end technology to a very down-stream market. Many of our customers don’t even know where the data is coming from. They have a problem and we are responsible for providing them with results. So we will partner with local companies from the affected areas. When we provide defense observations, we will also partner with other companies that have the technology or insights to complement us. We expand thanks to our great global partnerships.”

Yossi Yamin, Chairman, SpacePharmara: “We have two satellites that run liquid-based biological and chemical reactions in space, and another eight labs that can be launched via spacecraft vehicles.

“In space, you don’t have the weight problem you have on Earth, and this means you can generate tremendous amounts of new components. For life science you can grow cultures much quicker – each day in space represents 20 days of aging on Earth.

“The medicine of the next decade will come from space. We are conducting all kinds of experiments right now, crystallizing for example, or growing skin in orbit for plastic surgery which is going to actually replace the skin, not put cosmetics on it. This is a real revolution.

Fredy Lange, VP of Business Development and Sales, Ramon.Space: We build systems for space, and are very fortunate to be partners with so many dreamers. We try to put together systems for everyone’s requirements. Our next big challenge is to go from product to production. We built AI-based systems and now need people to start using it. We want to help the whole industry move to a high-quality, high-quantity industry.  

Dr. Israel Biran, GP of Earth and Beyond Ventures: “There are huge opportunities in space, which are constantly growing. This field will experience a revolution – the key factor that will drive and grow this industry will be Elon Musk’s Starship. The main cost for space is launching and he is revolutionizing this, greatly reducing the cost, which will drive the industry to do amazing things – healthcare, mining, communication, observation – everything at a much lower cost. We invest in technologies that will enable this.

“We think that Israel has a lot of potential – its academia and industry are very strong, and the combination with the innovative Israeli spirit will take the country far.”

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