The sky is no longer the limit for Australia’s $5bn space sector, here are 30 bold predictions for 2030

Every business will be a space business in 2030, with massive implications for Australia’s growing AU$5bn space sector, according to KPMG Australia’s new report “30 Voices on 2030 – The future of space”.

With the world at a “pivotal point for space”, the global space industry is expected to be worth US$600bn by 2030, and Australia’s 14,000 strong space workforce has been growing at 10.9% annually over the past five years. The report contains interviews with thirty industry leaders about the changes and opportunities presented by space.

Experts who contributed to the report include Dr Megan Clark, Head of the Australian Space Agency; James Morhard, the Deputy Administrator of NASA; Dr Jan Wörner, the Director General of the European Space Agency. They are joined by space industry executives and entrepreneurs, and specialists in areas as diverse as space medicine and space agriculture.

What does the future of space look like?

By 2030, the report predicts, manufacturing in space will be real and viable and there will be assets such as mines operated remotely on the Moon.

Rather than space programs being purely government-led, there will be more and more partnerships between the public and private sectors, with Government as a customer of civil space business.

“Today’s ‘small space start-ups’ will be the sector leaders in 2030,” says Mike Kalms, Partner-in-Charge, Space and Defence Industry, KPMG Australia.

“Already many multi-national businesses are investing in the space sector and understanding how it can add value to their business on Earth.”

“By 2030 we expect many businesses across all industries to have dedicated space teams and resources.”

“The majority of space companies will be valued in the billions of dollars and operate across multiple countries. Global levels of cooperation will help enhance economic and political ties between nation states.”

Mike Kalms, KPMG
Mike Kalms, KPMG

While people won’t be living on the Moon quite like the Jetsons, with space travel remaining costly, there will be an increased human presence in space.

This will enable more research, such as medical research in zero gravity. The report also predicts that the human genome may be altered to further support humanity’s sustained exploration of space.

At the same time there will be challenges in terms of sustainability: a moratorium on space debris and a recognition of the importance of the ecology of space for future generations.

“Businesses are already putting sustainability at the forefront of what they do on Earth. We anticipate the same will be applied to space activities in the years ahead.”

“Debris in space has long been an area of concern, which will only escalate. We will need international agreements, and ways to recover and recycle decommissioned satellites.”

“Legislation and treaties will need to evolve as space becomes its own legal jurisdiction,” says Mr Kalms.

A central international governing body will also need to be established to manage space data, which will increase in volume and value.

Much of the data collected will be analysed by leading edge analytics in-orbit to reduce the volume of data that needs to be transmitted to Earth and stored.

AI will also be used in deep space missions to overcome communications delays due to distance and help pre-empt and correct problems.

30 space sector predictions for 2030

Humans will live, work and holiday in space

1. Space travel will be a collaborative multinational venture

2. Living in space will be easier but not easy

3. Zero gravity – new medical conditions and new treatments will be created

4. Many will experience space – but not all will go

5. You will know an astronaut

6. The human genome will change to support human deep space exploration

Deep space exploration

7. We’ll successfully mine the Moon for water by 2030

8. We may finally discover evidence of life in space

9. We’ll operate assets remotely on the Moon like mines in the Pilbara

10. Growing and eating food in space will be commonplace

11. Virtual companions will assist with the mental health challenges of long space travel

12. We will look back in time more than 4 billion years

Space business models

13. Every business will be a space business

14. The leading space businesses of 2030 are start-ups today

15. Long-established terrestrial industries will build a presence in space

16. Government will be a customer of civil space businesses

17. Multinational co-operation, while challenging, will drive the peace dividend

18. Manufacturing in space will be real and viable

Sustainability in space

19. Sustainability in space will benefit sustainability on Earth

20. There will be a ‘CFC moment’ in space which will trigger a moratorium on space debris

21. Space ecology will be imperative for our millennial generation

22. Space will get its own legal jurisdiction

23. Space will be forced to accelerate quickly as an operational domain for armed forces

24. A Masters of Space Ecology will be offered at universities

Space data comes back to earth

25. Space data will become completely commoditised

26. An international regulatory body for space data will be established

27. AI will be commonplace in space

28. Data will not be owned – rather shared

29. Governments will conduct their census from space

30. Personal privacy will be challenged

For the full 30 Voices on 2030 – The future of space report, go here.

For the KPMG Investment in the Australian Space Sector report, go here.