Today is the beginning of World Space Week 2023. A week set aside every year to celebrate the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. World Space Week is the largest annual space event in the world. The week helps build up the workforce of tomorrow by inspiring students; demonstrating visible public support for the space programme; educating the public about space activities; and fostering international cooperation in space outreach and education.
The theme for World Space Week 2023 is “Space and Entrepreneurship”. It recognizes the growing significance of the commercial space industry and the increasing opportunities for space entrepreneurs. With miniaturization and decreasing launch costs, it is now possible for small businesses to build and launch small satellites, and for entrepreneurs to create valuable new products for governments and industries. The United States is leading in this new commercial space race, to which individual entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and even Richard Branson are making enormous contributions. As of 2016, NASA has published over 2,000 spinoffs from space exploration in the fields of computer technology, environment and agriculture, health and medicine, public safety, transportation, recreation, and industrial productivity.
In Nigeria, Starlink, a satellite-based internet service owned by Elon Musk is supporting small business owners to access robust digital services and resources, including cloud-based applications, online banking, and e-commerce. This access is not only providing them with opportunities to grow but is helping to create a level playing field in the country’s business environment. Starlink also offers a range of business solutions that can help small businesses succeed. These solutions include web hosting, domain registration, online marketing, and other services.
As the world marks World Space Week 2023, Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL), advocates reforms of the legal and policy framework for space in Nigeria to create a robust and competitive commercial space sector. Nigeria’s space legal and policy framework should strengthen and encourage public-private partnerships by ensuring regulatory licensing processes of space systems and services are transparent and consistent with national goals. It should also work to reduce regulatory burden and create the flexibility necessary to accommodate innovation and technological demands by identifying key suppliers and manufacturers and incentivizing them to invest in Nigeria. It should also facilitate new market opportunities for commercial space capabilities and services. Space technology will power the next industrial revolution and so needs a thriving entrepreneurial environment.