Quantum Computing—Disrupting The $350B Space Race by Maëva Ghonda
“In the same way that every company today is a technology company, every company of tomorrow will be a space company.” -C. Anderson
Quantum is a transformative technology enabling a surge of novel innovations that will disrupt the new space economy, a critical industry which could surpass $1 trillion in annual revenue worldwide in 2040 (vs. $350 billion in 2020). This aerospace sector will dominate this decade of revenue growth for the global enterprise quantum computing market, which is projected to reach $988M in annual revenue by 2030 (vs. $35M in 2021E).
Image Credit: Statista
Rise of the New Space Economy
Image Credit: Statista
Private investments in space companies catapulted to $1.9B in Q1 2021. And, at $9.9B of new private capital, Q2 2021 has shattered all records — it is now the largest quarter on record for private space infrastructure investments. Hence, investments in the space infrastructure stack will exceed the previous annual record of $9.1B of new capital which was realized in 2020.
Image Credit: Space Capital
Revived by an era of research and development whereby governments have transitioned from funder and developer of space programs to essential partner and key enabler of private space sector growth, the new space economy has attracted new and non-space actors penetrating disparate streams of the multiplex space value chain. Multiple space companies are now expected to secure SPAC deals in the months ahead.
Fueling The Space Race
“Space is becoming increasingly congested, contested, and competitive.” — U.S. National Security Space Strategy
To sustain U.S. leadership in space, the U.S. President’s National Strategy for Space established that securing benefits derived from space for commercial activity as well as national security and scientific innovations is a top priority. Notably, in 2020, the U.S. space economy supported more than 356,000 private sector jobs and accounted for $41.2B of private industry wages as well as $177.5B of gross output, almost four times the national gross domestic product (GDP) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (previously Zaïre). Hence, although a record number of private enterprises and governments are heavily investing in space programs, the U.S. remains the top institutional investor in the space sector.
Image Credit: Statista
(1) to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon in the next seven years;
(2) to lead the return of humans to the Moon in 36 months;
- NASA will land the first American person of color and the first American woman on the Moon in the next 36 months and establish sustainable exploration via collaboration with commercial and international partners.
- In March 2019, the U.S. President directed NASA to speed up its plans to return humans to the moon by four years, to 2024.
(3) to develop infrastructure that will enable landing of the first human on Mars; and,
(4) to incentivize private industry to create new global markets for U.S. space goods and services.
Successful space missions require solving countless compute-centric problems. Such stunning aims will require new scientific and technological capabilities. Some of these complex computational challenges could potentially be facilitated by quantum-enabled solutions.
Preparing for the Quantum Shift
Despite tremendous growth in compute power of classical systems, remarkable quantum algorithms have provably outperformed classical algorithms in recent decades. Quantum intellectual property research (e.g. global patent intelligence) revealed that governments, academic institutions and enterprises in multiple geographic regions (e.g. Russia, China, European Union, United States, etc.) have already significantly invested in quantum-enabled space research and development programs.
In future decades, emerging profit pools that are quantum-enabled will reshape market dynamics worldwide and account for an untold share of space industry profits. Knock-on effects of quantum innovations from other sectors yielding exponential improvements for some calculations will impel new space industry business models. Hence, to eliminate the impending disequilibrium that will be experienced by unprepared actors in the new space economy, governments, academic institutions and enterprises (e.g. Google, Airbus, USRA, Lockheed, NASA, and many others) have been seizing early opportunities to research and develop quantum capabilities in areas of great importance, including: communications, security, machine learning, mission planning and scheduling, anomaly detection, optimal sensor placement, and much more.
Born in the magnetic capital city of Kinshasa that is nestled in the great Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) — the heart of Africa — Maëva Ghonda is a Sustainability Scientist. As the founder and the chief executive of the Quantum AI Institute, her work is centered on technology innovations that tackle Climate Change. Maëva Ghonda is also the founder of the Quantum AI Symposium and the founder of the flagship Quantum Computing Certificate Education Program for Workforce Development— both are sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
Maëva’s passion for quantum computing was ignited while working as Quantum Scholar for the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) for a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Fellow. Prior to quantum, Maëva worked in corporate strategy, cybersecurity, and as an engineer on an autonomous 3D printed spacecraft for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) to enable space tourism.