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Data Analytics in the Space Industry

We are more than a half century into the space age, and as rocket launches get cheaper and cheaper, satellites are being put into orbit at high rates as more companies can afford to do so. As these machines get smaller, they also get more advanced, and the large number of satellites above the atmosphere means that there is a huge influx of data being sent back to Earth. However, according to this article on GeekWire, there is not enough effort being put into analysis of that data. There is an opportunity for companies in the commercial space industry to enter this part of the market and establish themselves as the dominant players in the industry, because after that initial investment to launch dozens of satellites into space, it will be tough for competitors to enter the market and compete against an established company.

Companies vying for the leadership spot in this industry know that network effects dictate that there will only be 2-3 companies to come out as dominant players in the industry. This principle is well-illlustrated by the rich-get-richer idea we learned about in class, where the more popular nodes in a network get more popular as the network grows, so in the end, only 2-3 players emerge as the top dogs in the entire network. This has been evident especially in the technology industry, where Apple, Google, and Microsoft dominate the market by a huge margin and no other company seems to even come close to their dominance. Thus, network effects dictate that only a few players will emerge as the top dogs, but history has shown that the first companies are not necessarily the ones that remain on top. For example, MySpace was the first major social network to launch, but Facebook entered later and is now the dominant player in the social media industry, showing that it is still not too late for new companies to establish a niche in the space data analytics industry.


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