Space from earth

Welcome to 2021! Space has become part of our everyday lives—and is transparent to most individuals.

Not only do we rely on space today, it has become a global essential tool and, in some cases, utility, for most of our population. That said, there are specific trends emerging in Space that need to be recognized—and watched for growth, expansion, and innovation:

Space Launch: We used to have a handful of space launch providers—launching large, single-use rockets to get payloads to orbit; today, a satellite owner actually has choice and options on launch systems—globally—to get their asset on orbit. Launch providers are reusing systems to reduce costs and continue reliability. Look for even more options as the year moves forward—this is an exciting area to watch!
Distribution Of Data: In space operations—both for defense and commercial applications, distributing the data to, through and from space systems to the cloud is becoming normalized. Having multiple physical locations where operators and users can access their content is now a near-everyday occurrence. The cloud provider still maintains control—operations, governance, policy and progression. Resiliency and reliability are on an increasing trend as redundancy of data is a second-order effect. Additionally, we see lower latency of data access, reducing costs and minimizing management of the data itself. Long term—cloud and space are inextricably linked. 
Space Anywhere: With the emergence of the COVID pandemic, we have seen a fully adaptable adjustment to space operations—access from anywhere you can access a communication system (WiFi, cloud, internet, etc.). Necessity as the Mother of invention—the need driving the adaption—has caused a relook of archaic location-based operations.  Work from anywhere—at any time—with full capability—is the new situation we see today. Space Operations, more and more, is working towards a “dark ops floor” construct. That said, tools like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) are the next trends to watch.
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML): Skynet and Genisys references aside, AI/ML is making our ability to operate from anywhere a real-time reality. With adaptive programming and reactive processing, we can point systems in the right direction with minimal interaction. Aside from upgrades, adjustments and maintenance, day-to-day operations are running unattended for space system across multiple mission areas and commercial solutions. Freeing up personnel to look towards the next system and upgrade is the added benefit of the AI/ML construct.
Human Ingenuity: The final trend for this examination is the ability of the human to continually innovate, create and implement. From the reusable rocket system to reprogrammable space systems on orbit, to the go-anywhere handheld devices we use, all are a result of human innovation.  Continually expanding and growing the ability to learn, improve and create is the unlimited space trend for us to exploit—every day produces new tools and techniques for us to use—watch this space for the next idea!


For the past 30 years, we’ve been tracking and analyzing the evolving space environment, from low to high Earth orbit. Through our artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, we’ve aggregated and collected geospatial intelligence, made it actionable, and put it into the hands of operators and analysts to enable timely and informed decision-making. Our experts have years of specialized engineering practices with modern, agile software and hardware disciplines, resulting in innovative solutions for current and future space domain capabilities that exceed customer requirements.

Parsons “2021 Emerging Trends In Space” has been published in the Space ISAC (Information Sharing And Analysis Center) newsletter.

About The Author

John “J.R.” Riordan is a Senior Vice President of Business Development for our Space and Geospatial Solutions market. J.R.’s previous experience includes the Senate Armed Services Committee where he led the Congressional establishment of the United States Space Force. A proven military strategist, policy expert, and business executive whose knowledge of the defense and political environments advances our growth in the federal market. He currently leads the account management, business development, and customer engagement of the company’s space portfolio for the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community.

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