订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业

太空商业市场正在成型

LoizosHeracleous 2015年12月22日

驱动商业太空公司发展的创业精神、精力和野心,是无可替代的。商业太空公司的发展最终将带来众多无异于白日做梦般的太空产品。

美国东部时间12月21日20:29(北京时间22日上午9:29),埃隆•穆斯克旗下SpaceX公司在佛罗里达州卡纳维拉尔角成功发射Falcon 9火箭,并成功着陆回收。此前,杰夫•贝佐斯旗下Blue Origins公司也顺利完成了其制造的可重复使用火箭的发射和着陆。

在如火如荼的太空竞赛中,这都是重大事件,意义非凡。因为目前所有火箭在进入太空之后,要么遭到毁坏,要么被抛弃。因此,在实现太空飞行商业化和日常化的过程中,火箭的重复使用是关键一步。

虽然埃隆•穆斯克、杰夫•贝佐斯都没有去过人类从未抵达的地方,但这些都标志着他们在探索太空商业化的竞争中,已领先于竞争对手。

命运共同体

如今的太空竞赛与尼尔•阿姆斯特朗登月时期有显著区别。Blue Origin和SpaceX等公司的出现,代表了太空行业管制放松的大方向,也体现了投资者个人的信念和愿景。他们心怀更大的志向,并为之投入了数以十亿计的资金。太空探索最初受到了NASA提供的政府种子基金的刺激,如今已演变为一项规模庞大的业务——未来十年,商业太空活动的规模预计将在今天2500亿美元的基础上翻一番。

此外,今天的太空竞赛不再是只有一个胜利者的厮杀。它更多的是一种联合体竞争,通常包括私人实体和多家政府机构,集合了商界、科研界和军方的利益。

太空探索不仅受到了商业利益的驱动,同时也是源自人类内心对于冲出地球走向太空的渴望。下一步将是登陆火星。因此,太空竞赛2.0的终极目标是为人类寻找另一个生存的家园。在开发外太空旅行、提升人类在其他星球定居能力这一旅程中,必将出现多位赢家。

这种成功模式类似于商业竞争,自然会出现财富的兴衰起伏,它并非两个超级大国之间你死我活的殊死决斗。所以,未来还会有其他公司参与竞争,这一点毋庸置疑。

在竞争过程中诞生的胜利者,将是具有远见且有财力支持开发太空活动商业应用的国家和公司。由此诞生的新市场将对我们的生活产生深远影响。

Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully landed a Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage on Monday following a satellite launch, marking a major success for the upstart space cargo company.

SpaceX’s rival, Blue Origin, which is backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, successfully launched and landed a sub-orbital rocket in Texas last month.

At present, all rockets being launched into space are either destroyed or abandoned after take-off. So the race to make them reusable is the next crucial step toward making space flight commercially viable and routine.

Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos may not have gone where no man has gone before, but in successfully landing their rocket back on Earth. It’s a significant coup in the latest incarnation of the space race.

A joint effort

Today’s space race is far different from the days when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. The emergence of Blue Origin and SpaceX is as much a reflection of a less regulated space industry as the conviction and vision of the individuals who are investing billions in pursuit of bigger objectives. Originally spurred by government seed funding from NASA, space exploration has become big business – and commercial space activity is expected to double over the next decade from today’s $250 billion.

What’s more, today’s space race is less of a competition with only one possible winner. This is a race of consortia that often includes both private entities and multiple government agencies. It brings together commercial, scientific and military interests.

In many ways it is driven by a perceived need to expand the human presence beyond a single planet – not just commercial interests. The next step is journeying to Mars. Thus, the ultimate goal of the space race 2.0 is couched in existential ideas of survival. And, while we develop the capability to travel and settle on other planets, there will be several winners along the way.

The pattern of success will resemble commercial competition, with its ebbs and flows and changes in fortunes, rather than a duel between two superpowers with a clear symbolic goalpost.Undoubtedly followed by others who enter the race.

The winners along the way will be the states and companies with the foresight and finance to develop the commercial applications of space activities. The offerings will create new markets and make an impact on the way we lead our lives.

太空探索的大众化

太空探索行业正在发生变化。之前的太空探索行业一直是传统的分级模式,商业实体只是作为国家机构的供应商,国家机构负责设想、主持和执行太空探索任务。而近几年,该行业正在向网络模式转变,在这种模式下,商业机构与政府的合作至关重要。而且,我们看到越来越多的商业机构启动了自己的任务。

特别是,低轨道任务正在被移交给商业公司。曾经主导太空行业的政府太空部门,正集中精力开发更宏大的外太空探索项目,如NASA的火星任务。SpaceX、Blue Origin和Orbital ATK等公司的出现,便是受到了美国政府种子基金的刺激。这些公司帮助NASA向国际空间站运送供给和宇航员,使得 NASA不再那么依赖俄罗斯从事类似任务。

毫无疑问,商业太空行业站在了巨人的肩膀上。比如,政府最初对技术、基础设施和人力资源的投资,如今让商业太空公司受益匪浅。此外,政府管制虽然有时候会非常专横,甚至会对公司施加约束,但它的存在是有道理的。SpaceX和Orbital最近的事故均在提醒人们,太空旅行困难重重,充满了危险和不可预测性。

但驱动商业太空公司发展的创业精神、精力和野心,是无可替代的——商业太空公司的发展最终将带来众多无异于白日做梦般的太空产品。

Democratizing space exploration

The space exploration industry is morphing. It used to be a traditional hierarchical model where commercial entities were suppliers to state agencies that conceived of, led and carried out missions. In recent years it has been moving toward a network model where collaboration across commercial as well as state entities is crucial. And, as we are increasingly seeing, commercial entities can launch their own missions.

In particular it is the low-orbit missions that are being given over to companies. Once-dominant government space agencies are now focusing their resources on the bigger prize of deep space exploration such as NASA’s planned mission to Mars. The emergence of companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Orbital ATK for example has been spurred by government seed funding awarded through NASA to ferry supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station, which also reduces NASA’s reliance on Russia in this regard.

The commercial space sector stands on the shoulders of giants. There is no doubt of the debt that is due to original state investments, which developed the technology, infrastructure and human capital that is now drawn on by commercial space companies. There is also no doubt that regulation, while overbearing and constraining at times, has been there for good reason. Recent accidents such as those suffered by SpaceX and Orbital are reminders that space travel is difficult, dangerous and unpredictable.

Yet, there is no substitute for the entrepreneurial spark, energy and ambition that drives commercial space companies – and that will ultimately lead to a multitude of space-related offerings that today seem like pipe dreams.

太空探索的战利品

太空行业曾经受到严格管制,准入门槛高,仅有几家公司,如今这个领域的管制日益宽松,准入门槛降低,竞争也日益激烈,而这种转变最终将有益于整个人类。这种转变将进化原则(将竞争环境下的变种、选择和保留,作为最有效的选择获胜者和分配资源的方式)应用到太空行业。包括史蒂芬•霍金在内,许多人都将太空探索视为人类生存的“人寿保险”。

太空探索不仅能带来利润和人类生存的空间,还能振奋人类精神。没有什么比上一轮太空竞赛时的登月,更能激发全世界的想象力。太空探索顺应了人类突破边界、探索未知领域的天性。正是因为这个原因,我们才说对太空商业化领域持批评和悲观态度的人,并没有抓住问题的关键。如果我们用短期的投资回报来为太空探索辩解,我们将不可能获得冲出地球的机会。

从长远来看,商业效益会不断积累,尤其是在解决了进入环地轨道的火箭如何安全可靠地回收再利用这一难题之后。小行星采矿、太空旅游、更快的洲际运输、更高效和更广泛的科研、娱乐与军事应用以及尚未出现的各种服务,未来都将变成可能,实现商业化。在这个过程中,商业公司将逐渐成为引领者。

本文作者洛伊佐斯•赫拉克莱厄斯为沃里克大学战略专业教授。本文最初发表于The Conversation。(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

审校;任文科

The spoils of space

The space industry’s shift from a tightly regulated domain with high barriers to entry and a select few competitors towards a more deregulated, easier to enter and hotly contested field is ultimately good for humanity. This shift applies evolutionary principles (variation, selection and retention within a competitive context as the most efficient way to select winners and allocate resources) to an industry that some, including Stephen Hawking, have called a “life insurance” for the survival of the human race.

The benefits do not just relate to profit and species survival. Space exploration feeds the human spirit. Nothing has captured the world’s imagination more than the original space race, when humans set foot on the moon. Space feeds that human propensity to push frontiers and go beyond what had previously seemed possible. It is partly for this reason that critiques and pessimism regarding the commercial viability of this industry miss the point. If we seek to justify space exploration with short-term returns on investment calculations, we will never have the green light or the opportunity to go beyond earth.

In the longer term, the commercial benefits will likely accrue, particularly when the puzzle of how to safely and reliably re-use launch rockets from Earth’s orbit is solved. Asteroid mining, space tourism, faster cross-continent earth transport, more efficient and expanded scientific, entertainment and military applications, and all sorts of services yet to emerge, will become possible and commercially viable. And business is increasingly leading the way.

LoizosHeracleous is a professor of strategy at the University of Warwick. This piece originally appeared on The Conversation.

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏