How space exploration boosts the global economy

Dylan Taylor
7 min readFeb 29, 2024

As space becomes increasingly open to private citizens and non-federal industries, its economic implications have shifted rapidly. The emerging space economy is now fostering innovations previously thought impossible, revolutionizing commerce, communication, and further insight into space’s uncharted horizons.

Though our collective economic vision is currently focused up and outward, it is important to also note space’s myriad benefits for the global Earth-based economy. The space industry has long inspired growth in a variety of industries and concentrations, making it an invaluable and time-tested contributor to an ambitious future.

GROWTH AND COMMERCIALIZATION

Once a government- and aerospace-exclusive sector, the space industry is becoming more commercialized and accessible than ever. This fact is perhaps the most vital economic driver of modern space infrastructure, and it now transcends the world’s few high-income economies; the number of countries with payloads in orbit has never been higher.

Commercial interest in space has grown in tandem with new technological and policy-related concepts such as reusable rockets, groundbreaking contracting mechanisms, and stronger computing capabilities-all of which have made space travel more sustainable, efficient, and economically viable.

While these changes take shape, the industry continues to facilitate economic growth the way it always has: through a steady current of exploration-based research breakthroughs and infrastructural advancements streamlining mission capabilities. A mesh of human-led and autonomous space activity has yielded findings consistently opening new pathways in education, technology, transportation, healthcare, ecology, and countless other fields. As a result, space exploration stimulates the global economy by creating new job opportunities and professional niches that, in turn, spur new generations of space professionals capable of maintaining this valuable cycle.

LOOKING AHEAD

The space market is poised for unprecedented growth in the coming years, currently set to eclipse $1.4 trillion by 2030. Naturally, these projections suggest an even more space-centric global economy in the foreseeable future.

This potential is promising, but it can only reach fruition through a worldwide commitment to persistent finetuning. In particular, advanced data analytics and predictive insight will be central to sustained economic progression, a notion illustrated in an economic outlook published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: “Effective policies and reliable predictions in the space sector demand comprehensive, high-frequency data. Such specialized statistics are currently scarce, often compelling analysts to rely on industry or government sources not specifically designed for studying the space sector. These sources often lack details on firms’ locations, production patterns, environmental costs, input factor uses, capital structures, and supply chains. The collection and dissemination of such detailed economic data could have significant positive effects by providing information to make accurate predictions and formulate detailed policies.”

Space has always represented discovery, evolution, and defiance of long-established existential norms-and its economic implications are no different. Moving forward, the above fields are just a few examples of space’s lasting impact on Earth’s various commercial sectors. Space is just scratching the surface of its influence and stands to make a major impact in defining the next era of humankind.

Dylan Taylor is the Chairman & CEO of Voyager Space.

Originally published at https://www.fastcompany.com on February 29, 2024.

About Dylan Taylor

Dylan Taylor speaking at Davos 2024

Dylan Taylor is a global business leader, commercial astronaut, thought leader and philanthropist. Currently, Dylan serves as Chairman & CEO of Voyager Space, a multi-national space exploration firm focused on building the next generation of space infrastructure for NASA and other global space agencies.

Dylan has been recognized by Harvard University, SpaceNews, the BBC, the Financial Times, Pitchbook,CNBC, CNN and others as having played a seminal role in the growth of the private space industry. As an early-stage investor in more than 50 emerging space ventures, including Axiom, Kepler, York, Astrobotic, LeoLabs, Relativity, and Planet, Dylan is widely considered the most active private space investor in the world.

Dylan’s technical background, global business experience and unbridled passion for space make him a unique figure within his industry. As a thought leader and futurist, he has written many popular pieces on the future of the space industry for Forbes, FastCompany, Newsweek, SpaceNews, The Space Review, and Space.com. As a speaker, Dylan has keynoted many of the major space conferences around the world and has appeared regularly on Bloomberg, Fox Business, and CNBC.

Dylan has extensive global business experience as both a board director and CEO in several industries, including advanced electronics, finance and real estate. He previously served as a Director for UMB Bank, a Fortune 500 company based in Kansas City and as a mutual fund director for the Jackson Funds where he oversaw assets of $8B across 130 distinct funds. He has also served in the roles of CEO, President and Board Director for multinational companies like Prudential PLC, Honeywell, Colliers and Jones Lang LaSalle. Dylan was recognized as a Fortune 1000 CEO with P&L responsibility in excess of $3B and operations encompassing 15,000 employees in over 60 countries. In addition, Dylan has participated in 4 IPOs over the course of his career.

Dylan is a leading advocate of space manufacturing and the utilization of in-space resources to further space exploration and settlement. In 2017, he became the first private citizen to manufacture an item in space when the gravity meter he co-designed and commissioned was 3D printed on the International Space Station. The historic item is now housed in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Dylan is an explorer of note. On December 11th, 2021 Dylan became just the 606th human to go to space as part of the crew of Blue Origin’s NewShepard Mission 19. Accordingly, Dylan earned his commercial astronaut wings with the FAA and his universal astronaut wings from the Association of Space Explorers.

He is also one of only a handful of humans to have descended to the deepest part of the world’s oceans, Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench as part of the Limiting Factor Expedition in July of 2022. In that mission, Dylan descended with pilot Victor Vescovo to a depth in excess of 10,800 meters (35,500 feet) into an area of the Mariana Trench that had never been visited by humans. Dylan is the youngest human to have been to the deepest part of the world’s oceans and crossed the Karman line into Space. Dylan has been a member of the Explorers Club since 2014.

Dylan maintains an extensive philanthropic impact on the space industry. In 2017, Dylan founded the nonprofit and social movement, Space for Humanity, which seeks to democratize space exploration and develop solutions to global issues through the scope of human awareness to help solve the world’s most intractable problems. Space for Humanity has successfully sent two citizen astronauts to space via Blue Origin including both the first Mexican-born woman (Katya Echazareta), and first African-born woman (Sara Sabry). Building upon his passion and support for the space industry, Dylan serves as a strategic advisor for both the Archmission and the Human Spaceflight Program and is a co-founding patron of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, which promotes the growth of commercial space activity. Additionally, he is also a leading benefactor to the Brooke Owens Fellowship, Patti Grace Smith Fellowship and Mission: Astro Access.

Dylan is the founder and Chairman of Multiverse Media, an integrated global media company focused on science and technology, with an emphasis on space. Multiverse is the parent company of the popular space philosophy website 2211.world as well as the Ad Astra Dinners, a Jeffersonian-style dinner series featuring some of the world’s leading influencers discussing the future of humanity in space. Another subsidiary of Multiverse Media, Multiverse Publishing, publishes books by leading authors including Frank White, Isaac Asimov and Gerard K. O’Neill. Multiverse is also the executive producer of the documentary film, The High Frontier and the forthcoming film, Fortitude.

For his influence as a global leader and his commitment to creating a positive impact on the world, Dylan has been honored with numerous personal and professional accolades in recent years. The World Economic Forum recognized Dylan as a Young Global Leader in 2011 and a full member of the World Economic Forum in 2014. That same year he was named a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. In 2020, Dylan was recognized by the Commercial Spaceflight Federation with their top honor for business and finance, following in the footsteps of 2019’s inaugural winner, the late Paul Allen
and subsequent winners Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk.

Dylan Taylor earned an MBA in Finance and Strategy from the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago and holds a BS in Engineering from the honors college at the University of Arizona, where he graduated Tau Beta Pi and in 2018 was named Alumnus of the year. He is also a graduate of the Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century program at Harvard University.

Dylan and his family reside in Denver, Colorado where he is active locally with Colorado Concern and theColorado Spaceport. In his spare time, Dylan enjoys hiking, competing in triathlons and spending time outdoors. As a weekend warrior athlete, Dylan has more than 25 top ten finishes and 25 age group wins to his credit, and he regularly interviews world class athletes whom have shown extraordinary resilience as the host of the Legendary Podcast. He is married to legal expert, consultant and author Gabrielle V. Taylor with whom he has two teenage daughters.

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Dylan Taylor

Dylan Taylor is a global business leader and philanthropist. He is an active pioneer in the space exploration industry