Credit: AIA

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) has issued its vision for the future — one that includes morning commutes via flying air taxi, supersonic business travel between continents, and an emerging market for space-based research and manufacturing in 2050

This new study – What’s Next for Aerospace and Defense: A Vision for 2050 — The result is a comprehensive look at innovations that will shape the world over the next thirty years.

The study was launched today with an interactive experience at South by Southwest (SXSW) now underway in Austin, Texas.

AIA represents more than 300 aerospace and defense manufacturers and suppliers, with the study built on interviews with over 70 industry leaders.

The variety of activities characterized in the study includes space mining.

Given the mineral riches floating in the cosmos, the study points out, commercial space manufacturing and mining “may move from the realm of science fiction into reality.”

“The underlying technology to enable such a space use case could even become widespread once the economics become viable,” the report explains.

Credit: AIA

Nascent stages

The study explains that, as interest in the commercial potential of space grows, exploration will likely become the focus of increasing public attention again.

In-depth research and exploration in space will be in its initial stages, but commercial research activity in support of that interest will likely increase:

  • Nascent: Space infrastructure—including off -Earth bases, supply hubs, and orbital fuel stations—will support expanded activities in space and make space travel safer and more sustainable.
  • Nascent: Space-based research, resource extraction, and manufacturing will take advantage of space’s unique conditions, such as extreme heat, zero gravity, and consistent solar energy.

Launch cost reduction

Furthermore, an increasingly dense constellation of low Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites is setting the stage for low-cost research across a variety of fields.

“Reductions in launch cost and improved sensor sensitivity across the electromagnetic spectrum will combine to make exploration and commercial activity in space more economical,” the study suggests.

To get a glimpse into this technology-driven future, read the full-study at:

https://www.aia-aerospace.org/vision-2050

Watch a brief video inspired by Vision 2050 at:

https://vimeo.com/322561633

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