The Dawn of a New Space Age
Thank you, Masseh [Masseh Tahiry – Risk Strategist, Toffler Associates, and master of ceremonies], for that introduction.
I’d also like to thank The Space Foundation, General Shelton [Gen. William L. Shelton, USAF (Ret.) – Former Commander, Air Force Space Command and Chairman, Space Foundation Executive Committee], Tom Zelibor [Thomas E. Zelibor – Chief Executive Officer, Space Foundation], and your staff.
The Space Symposium is an incredible event.
I’ve had a chance to visit some amazing exhibits, hear visionary talks and connect with top leaders.
This is what you do here every year, and I thank you for this opportunity.
For more than three decades now, the Space Symposium has helped the world advance together on the final frontier.
At Lockheed Martin, we’re proud to share in the Space Foundation’s mission to inspire, educate, connect and advocate on behalf of the global space community.
And on behalf of all of us at Lockheed Martin, it is a privilege to be here among the world’s most senior leaders in military, civil and commercial space.
From the very beginning of America’s efforts to explore the heavens, Lockheed Martin has been there.
And over the years, we’ve had the honor of working alongside many of the agencies and corporations represented here today.
From the Vanguard satellite that set the stage for America’s space program, to the Orion exploration spaceship that will carry people farther than ever before, we’ve been proud to work with our government partners to strengthen global security, advance scientific discovery and enable progress for nations around the world.
We always work knowing that you look to us to help you carry out essential missions with precision and efficiency.
We recognize that the safety of billions of people, and the upward trajectory of the global economy, hinge upon much of the work we do together every day.
We are honored and humbled by this trust placed in us.
This 34th gathering of the Space Symposium takes place at a moment of great consequence in the history of aerospace.
It is a moment that in many ways resembles the earliest days of space exploration.
President John F. Kennedy seized that historic moment in a speech before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961.
His remarks came during a period of great concern over America’s security and technological competitiveness.
It had been four years since the Soviets had successfully launched Sputnik, and just six weeks since cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the earth.
Despite these setbacks, Kennedy came to Congress with a resolute vision: to restore the nation’s competitive edge and technological leadership.
In his speech, he talked about how he had charged Vice President Lyndon Johnson with leading the National Space Council to assess America’s status and strength in the realm of space technology.
And Kennedy declared that the moment had come to build and leverage those strengths.
Those of us in this room are intimately familiar with how this distinctly American story played out.
Our nation’s commitment to leadership in space resulted in “one giant leap for mankind” that served as a catalyst for many of the most revolutionary technologies that humanity relies upon today.
60 years after Kennedy’s speech, the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union is no longer a driver for space ventures.
However, our world is no less dangerous.
Our customers throughout the U.S. government and across the globe are consistently telling us that they are facing the most dynamic threat environment they’ve seen since the end of the Cold War.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the space domain.
In his most recent Worldwide Threat Assessment, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned that our nation’s adversaries are aggressively developing counterspace capabilities, as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles – all under the auspices of scientific experimentation.
And Director Coats believes that Russia and China will field antisatellite weapons within the next few years.
Countries across the globe are rapidly increasing their investments in space technology to expand their C4ISR capabilities.
In fact, according to the investment firm Morgan Stanley, global government spending on space is forecasted to double over the next two decades.
What used to be an uncontested sanctuary is now a contested environment with the potential to affect every nation’s security and economy.
This evolution of space into an environment of extreme competition demands urgent and innovative action.
It is up to us to seize this historic moment.
There is every reason to be optimistic that greater positive change is ahead.
The public imagination and interest in space exploration is the strongest it has been in decades.
Policymakers are increasingly aware that space must be safeguarded for the sake of security and progress.
And investors and nations around the world see promise and possibilities in new technologies and increased competition.
One of the most important signs of accelerating change has been President Trump’s reformation of the National Space Council, under the guidance of Vice President Mike Pence.
As we heard from the vice president yesterday, the National Space Council has already brought a new focus and energy to the space ventures of both government and industry.
It is also encouraging that this vision for U.S. space leadership is receiving broad-based support.
The omnibus appropriations bill, which passed with bipartisan support in Congress and was signed by the president late last month, increased funding for space programs by eight percent.
And it contained significantly more funding for NASA than the agency originally requested, which will ensure that important exploration programs continue to press forward.
Another reason for optimism is the incredible potential for our growing industry to unleash game-changing innovation and to generate sustained economic growth.
Two years ago, the global space industry generated $350 billion in revenue.
By the year 2040, it’s expected to generate more than $1 trillion.
This strong and dynamic growth will be felt in many nations, and by many more companies.
Advances in technology have democratized space, providing opportunity for more people in more places to share in its incredible benefits.
In just the past five years, we’ve seen more than 900 new commercial space companies enter the market.
Like planets aligning, all of these factors have come together to place us at the dawn of a new space age.
This new era in space will be defined by significant challenges, and nearly unlimited opportunities.
I’m confident that the right actions taken over the next several years by the leaders present here can ensure this new space age strengthens global security, expands economic opportunity and drives human progress.
As we look to the future, there are three key actions the space community must take to seize this historic moment.
The first action is to adapt to rapidly evolving mission requirements with speed and agility.
Today’s dynamic threat environment demands shorter program timelines, more flexible solutions and greater affordability.
This means industry leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators must adapt with well-targeted capital investments, research and development.
And because of the increasingly complex nature of the challenges in space, it is more important than ever to help customers put in place more integrated ground architecture.
As General Hyten from U.S. Strategic Command has observed, this is the “biggest piece” in the modernization of our nation’s space systems.
There is also a fundamental need across our industry to recognize that space is about much more than satellites.
Those who wish to lead in space must take a holistic view.
It is imperative that innovators create end-to-end networks that deliver actionable data to warfighters on the ground, at sea and in the air.
Such a multi-domain approach also lays the groundwork for greater resilience.
Our systems must be designed to ensure that no adversary could cripple U.S. power, communications, or our economy by attacking our national security space systems.
Adapting to rapidly evolving mission requirements also demands that we seek new ways and new approaches to “future-proof” systems.
This means designing satellites and payloads that can be reprogrammed, updated and improved remotely.
This provides the flexibility our customers need to adapt missions in orbit.
For instance, we can move bandwidth where it’s needed, when it’s needed, or update payloads with the latest software as new capabilities develop.
At Lockheed Martin, we have also placed an emphasis on commonality in our satellite manufacturing by rolling out a new family of satellite busses that form the core of nearly every space mission – from nanosats to high-powered satellites.
We believe this new lineup can incorporate the efficiencies of hundreds of common components including propulsion, power regulation, solar arrays, batteries, thermal control, software and avionics.
This commonality speeds production and reduces costs, allowing our customers to place essential payloads in orbit faster and cheaper than ever before.
Competing in the new space age will also require leaders in our industry to anticipate and to embrace the far-reaching implications and opportunities of the digital transformation sweeping the global economy.
Artificial intelligence, more powerful computing and advanced materials are revolutionizing the way we design, develop, produce, deliver and sustain products.
About 60 miles north of here, at our Lockheed Martin Space campus outside Denver, Lockheed Martin is investing $350 million to build the satellite factory of the future.
This new 266,000-square-foot facility, called the Gateway Center, will incorporate state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing innovations including virtual reality design, 3-D printing, Bluetooth tools that guide the work of assembly and test engineers, as well as mobile devices that enable total access to all data, procedures and drawings at the touch of a finger, and robots that will deliver parts directly to technicians.
The Gateway Center is just one example of the investments Lockheed Martin has made in our space programs.
All told, we’ve invested $1.5 billion in our space business over the past five years.
That investment includes efforts to upgrade our new family of satellite busses, innovations to reduce costs on the Orion program, as well as new space R&D labs in Silicon Valley.
The investments we’ve made to remain on the cutting edge of advanced manufacturing are proof of how we’re focused on staying ahead of the curve to better serve our customers.
The second action needed for this historic moment is to create a climate in which the new space age can thrive.
The private sector must embrace the democratization of space.
Space is not a zero-sum game.
Dynamic competition spurs investment, innovation and global progress.
There is plenty of opportunity for everyone to succeed – from prime contractors to new startups.
Technological advances have leveled the playing field, and we’ve embraced the innovations that new entrants have brought into the space community.
Last February, we held an event at our facility in Silicon Valley to announce the Lockheed Martin Open Space initiative.
For the first time in our company’s history, we publicly released the payload accommodation specifications for our satellite platforms.
And we invited startups, researchers and established companies alike to take these specifications and create technologies to integrate on Lockheed Martin satellites.
Potential applications include helping first responders address crises faster, studying the environment, creating ultra-high capacity communications links and adapting low-cost commercial technology to the punishing environments of space.
This initiative is rooted in our belief that by drawing upon the breadth and depth of expertise across industry, academia and government, we can better respond to and plan for our nation’s most pressing challenges.
In addition to greater collaboration among industry partners, we believe government also has an important role to play in creating a productive climate for innovation in space.
A clear vision for America’s space leadership, supported by a stable and consistent commitment of budgetary resources, is essential to provide industry with the confidence to take risks and invest capital.
We’ve clearly seen that the nation’s economy benefits greatly when government makes a strong commitment to space.
Investment in space leads to the creation of high-wage, high-tech jobs that will drive the American economy in the 21st century.
The ripple effect of the space industry’s supply chain further amplifies this economic impact.
To put it into perspective, the Lockheed Martin Space business purchased goods and services last year from more than 5,000 suppliers.
More than 3,500 of those suppliers are small businesses, providing opportunities in diverse communities across the nation.
Recently, our government has taken positive steps toward creating a more conducive environment for investment.
The revival of the National Space Council has set us on the path toward the achievement of a collective vision for space.
And efforts by the administration and Congress to reform and reduce regulations, as well as simplify the tax code, have spurred greater confidence from businesses large and small.
We look forward to continuing to engage in a community-wide dialogue on how best to support further growth in the space sector.
The third action is to build a robust pipeline of talent with the skills to compete for the space industry and government jobs of the future.
All over the world, there is a growing need for talent well-versed in science, technology, engineering and math.
Building a robust STEM pipeline will require every sector of society – from government, academia and business, and from the local, state and national levels.
In America, our nation must do a better job of aligning curriculum in our schools and universities with the job requirements that students will face when they enter the workforce.
This is more than an economic issue.
It’s a national security issue.
We need the nation’s brightest minds focused on developing innovative solutions to maintain America’s technological advantage.
At Lockheed Martin, we believe the first step to building the space talent pipeline is to inspire the next generation of innovators to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
For those of you in this room who are old enough to remember, I’m sure you will never forget where you were when you watched the Apollo 11 astronauts set foot on the surface of the moon.
I imagine at least some of you are here today because of that moment.
It was an inspiration for an entire generation of scientists, engineers and aerospace professionals.
Today, our nation is focused once again on sending humans to the surface of the moon.
But we don’t want to stop there.
Lockheed Martin believes that, like the Apollo missions did for my generation, a collective commitment to send astronauts to Mars will motivate today’s youth to become tomorrow’s space leaders.
That’s why we’ve launched an initiative called Generation Beyond.
Through this multi-faceted national education program, we’ve provided parents and educators with space-based lesson plans for use at home and in school.
We’ve created a virtual reality smartphone app that allows students to experience what it’s like to walk on the red planet.
We’ve also sponsored a video challenge that prompted teams of students from across the country to submit their designs for a Mars habitation module, with a $10,000 prize awarded to the winning team.
And perhaps the most celebrated element of our Generation Beyond initiative is the Lockheed Martin Mars Experience Bus.
It’s a real, functioning school bus that we’ve outfitted with virtual reality technology to give kids a simulated ride on the surface of Mars.
Since we unveiled the bus in 2016, more than 98,000 children have experienced it during a nationwide tour that ran from Kennedy Space Center, to the Super Bowl, to Capitol Hill and many stops in between.
And we’ve engaged more than 1.8 million students through our Mars-focused curriculum.
It is our hope that some of those children will go on to careers in the space industry. Some of them may even grow up to be the first women or men to set foot on another planet.
To conclude, I believe that our industry currently faces a generational opportunity.
The time is now to capitalize on the convergence of factors that have the potential to propel us into a new space age.
I’m confident that the space community has what it takes to maximize this potential for the benefit of all mankind.
As President Kennedy said, we can achieve our vision if “every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor and civil servant gives his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space.”
# # #