Fueling: The Second Space Race

Although some of us are more aware than others, we’re living on the verge of a new space era. The first space race was a cold war battle between the US and Soviet, the second race is among innovative new companies and entrepreneurs.

On July 26, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, the capstone moment after $25 billion dollars had been spent in research and funding. Almost 30 years later (1998), the World sent the first piece of the International Space Station (ISS) into orbit. In 2014, we gained access to a constant window of Earth from Space through the High Definition Earth-Viewing System (HDEV), which has revolutionized our ability to see and understand the Earth.

Today there’s a plethora of ambitious startups trying to accomplish amazing things. A forerunner amongst these companies is SpaceX, who provided the first private delivery of cargo to the ISS. In addition, the well-known face of SpaceX, Elon Musk, has his sights set on Mars.

Blue Origin is creating a lot of hype because it offers any regular individual aspiring to be an astronaut with the opportunity to experience the edge of space. Deep Space Industries (DPI) and Planetary Resources are diving into the formidable challenge of participating in  the $20 trillion dollar space mining and general space habitation initiatives.

In the midst of this 21st century revisioning of a space race, ICT is on the brink of being a key player in these promising ventures. That is because what all of these different companies need is precisely what we provide: high pressure gas storage tanks! Every rocket uses a range of tank sizes for various needs from propulsion to breathing systems, but the one common goal each of these companies is to have the lightest system possible. Not only is ICT able to meet their needs for extremely lightweight fuel storage systems, our products are customizable to a client’s space restrictions and sizing requirements.

In a blog post from ICT -- then called CleanNG --  in 2014, it was estimated that every pound of cargo sent into space cost about $40,000. But these days, the groups mentioned above and other companies with their sights set on space are targeting a $10,000 per pound price tag. Every pound saved on the high-pressure fuel systems can amount to great sums of fuel savings. It also helps in reduced launch prices, which are currently at an all time low because of reusable rockets. However, companies like Rocket Lab, York Space Systems, and other are trying to further reduce these costs.

The World is at an exciting point in history that would make President John F. Kennedy proud. We look forward to new opportunities to provide products to these ambitious companies in order to help explore Space. And as a member of this rich community of entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, and dreamers, we do not see Space as the final frontier, but rather just the next frontier.