Dubai: Unless you are a Richard Branson or Elon Musk of Tesla, putting your entrepreneurial hopes on space technology can be quite daunting. There’s absolutely no guarantee that those sky-high investments committed will ever transform into viable returns … if at all.
Not that any such inherent risks are putting off Nader Sabry from his shot at channelling such technology into commercial possibilities on Earth.
The founder and CEO of TimeZ5 reckons that the space industry will become “more decentralised in nature” and thus allowing multiple entry points for start-ups to build a presence, however marginal it may be.
His venture plans to create commercial possibilities that can be put to good use on the ground here with technology developed with the space in mind.
“The biggest challenge in the space economy is the commercialisation of technology, which often takes years,” said Sabry. “Historically, a space technology to reach the masses can easily take 10 years. But things are changing and getting faster.
“Globally we get several invitations and inquiries from space and space-related companies for advice and insights into the commercialisation process we use.
“We have been working with other space technology companies in this area — but on a limited capacity at the moment. Much of our commercialisation is from the effective application of materials with advanced manufacturing process that has helped us cut time and cost to getting product to market.”
But isn’t the risk of failure that much higher in anything related to space? “Any start-up has the potential of not making a return — [it’s] like in any other industry, you have no assurance of success.”
Sabry is also keeping an open mind on a more direct approach to getting into space. He has launched the Get2space initiative that aims to “inspire space entrepreneurship” through a partnership with the US Space Foundation.
“Last December at the RiseUp Summit 2015 in Cairo we launched our “become an astronaut programme” in Egypt with an overwhelming response from students, academics and space-buffs,” said Sabry. “At the summit, we sponsored a regional future astronaut to share his journey about getting to space to inspire future youth. We plan to expand our programme and help get more people from the Arab world to space.
“In the space industry, high upfront costs are a given. It is like the automotive or entertainment industry where the initial capital required is at the front — but the difference is the timeline for returns are longer in space.”