NewSpace: New Business Models at the Interface of Space and Digital Economy: Chances in an Interconnected World

Norbert Frischauf*, Rainer Horn, Tilo Kauerhoff, Manfred Wittig, Ingo Baumann, Erik Pellander, Otto Koudelka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


According to Wikipedia, "NewSpace" is an umbrella term for a movement and philosophy that is often affiliated with, but not synonymous with, an emergent private spaceflight industry. Specifically, the term is used to refer to a community of relatively new aerospace companies working to develop low-cost access to space or spaceflight technologies and advocates of low-cost spaceflight technology and policy. Although this description may be arguable, the emergence of numerous start-up space ventures within the past 15 years is a fact. These start-ups cover diverse areas such as satellite communications, Earth observation, launchers, manned spaceflight and space tourism, or even energy from space as well as resource gathering in space. Companies have attracted more than $13.3 billion of investment, including $5.1 billion in debt financing, since 2000. More than 80 angel- and venture-backed space companies have been founded since 2000. Eight of these have since been acquired, at a total value of $2.2 billion. The NewSpace movement has so far been focused, to a great extent, on the United States, namely the West Coast. Mojave in California has been dubbed "the Silicon Valley on NewSpace," being home to several of these commercial space enterprises. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has launched a study for understanding the driving forces behind the NewSpace ecosystem and related chances and challenges for Germany and Europe. The study, which was conducted by SpaceTec Partners and BHO Legal of Germany, shows that at least four factors are of immanent importance for a NewSpace ecosystem to create market-driven products and services. These factors are related to: (1) Business Philosophy - creating and living an entrepreneurial spirit; (2) Financing - access to early stage risk capital and venture funding; (3) Technology Management - focus on spinning-in technologies and Information and Communication Technology processes; and (4) Framework Conditions - favorable political and legal conditions supporting commercialization. This article summarizes the insights gained and the lessons learned from success stories and failures in NewSpace. It presents the recommendations for strategies as to how NewSpace can be successful in Europe and, in particular, in Germany. Given the growing relevance of NewSpace, these insights are of high interest to stakeholders and decision makers worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-146
Number of pages12
JournalNew Space
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • business philosophy
  • entrepreneurs
  • financing
  • Germany
  • private spaceflight industry
  • start-ups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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