Business to Government and Democratization of Space with Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics

Saber Astronautics

The next business frontier, in terms of physical spaces, is not one you can physically walk on. Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics, predicts that outer Space is the next Promised Land for businesses and innovators. Saber is based in Boulder, Colorado, and in Sydney, Australia, significant because of the unique layers of complexity Held has had to work through to operate this business in conjunction with two separate government entities. Democratizing space is a massive undertaking, done by the Saber team through creating better game-like user interfaces and software. Navigating business ‘friendly-enemy’ relationships in the industry and operating in the complex world of business to government relationships is no small feat, but Held saw an opportunity as a new graduate and couldn’t say no.

“Business to government, if you know how to play that game, is really lucrative,” said Held. “Fast forward, I did my Ph.D. in Australia, this was about 2007 when I was graduating, and there was a new category of satellites called CubeSats. If you think about the size of a spacecraft back then for an industry-level mission and things that are doing satellite communications or, or earth observation, things that produce large amounts of money, these historically are half a billion-dollar spacecraft, massive infrastructure required to do something like that. Well, the new category was what had just been embedded between 2005/2007 and they were the size of a toaster. The cost for starting your space company was less than half the cost of a juice bar range.”

Lowering that financial barrier to entering the space industry was all it took for Held to dive in. He is passionate about the time-sensitive and safety-critical missions he and his team are working on now, space traffic.

“There is no space traffic solution globally. The U.S. military has been running it for most of the Western world, but they want to be space warriors, not space traffic cops. So much more material is coming out there. We’ve got 7,500 satellites that are active in space today and I think that’s going to grow to 40,000 by the end of the decade. Some people are predicting a hundred thousand satellites and for every satellite, you’ve got 10 times more in pieces of debris floating around and it’s all traveling at eight kilometers a second. If you get hit by one of those, that’ll ruin your day. We do a lot of work in that field.”

With no time to be lost Held and team are working across timezone to find solutions. In this episode, he walks us through his process of disrupting the space industry by creating Saber Astronautics. He talks about the complexities of their business model working with both governments, and businesses. Held shares about how their innovative PIGI software was created, and the rise of downstream space industry service companies and micro-industries like this. He’s predicting cool things for the future in space. To hear more from Jason and Saber Astronautics, make sure you check out the full episode of Marketing Trends!

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