This post is part of our new Future of Space series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Kevin Cook, Vice president – Marketing & Communications – at Space Foundation.
1. What’s the history of the Space Foundation? Where and how did you begin?
KC: The Space Foundation was formed as a 501c3 in Colorado in 1983 by a small group of visionary leaders who wanted to bring together the various sectors of the space community to serve as an unbiased, credible source of information for space professionals and the general public.
2. What specific problem does your organization solve? How do you solve it?
KC: The Space Foundation started out as an organization “to foster, develop and promote, among the citizens of the United States of America and among other people of the world … a greater understanding and awareness … of the practical and theoretical utilization of space … for the benefit of civilization and the fostering of a peaceful and prosperous world.” As the global space community has evolved, so has the Space Foundation. We do not have a narrow focus, but instead, represent the global space community, and today we are the world’s premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community.
There are several challenges the Space Foundation works to address. Studies show that careers in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) will not have enough qualified candidates to fill needed positions in coming years. Through our educational programs, we educate and inspire the next generation of space leaders. We help foster meaningful mentor relationships between New Generation professionals (35 years and younger) and experienced professionals currently in the industry. We also unite the global space community at events such as the annual Space Symposium, held each year at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., and we educate students and the general public at our Discovery Center, which houses a range of space exhibits and hands-on learning labs.
3. What’s the future of the space industry?
KC: The Space Foundation provides information based on research of historical and current space industry data from around the world. Current space industry trends, such as the increase in small satellite manufacturing and their subsequent use to fulfill the public’s hunger for data and information, are proof of a healthy industry and good reasons for optimism.
Space exploration continues to provide valuable knowledge and technology that improve the quality of life for all of us here on Earth.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in the space industry?
KC: The top three technologies that we have noticed in the space sector are small satellites, small satellite launchers, and 3D printing. Small satellites are easier to make than their predecessors and dramatically reduce the cost of getting into space. Non-government organizations are also launching these small sats into orbit, which is helping organizations get their payload into space in a shorter time window. It will be interesting to see how these technologies continue to develop and impact the cost and time frames of getting into space.
Trend #1: Small satellites are easier to make than their predecessors and dramatically reduce the cost of getting into space. Non-government organizations are also launching these small sats into orbit, which is helping organizations get their payload into space in a shorter time window. It will be interesting to see how these technologies continue to develop and impact the cost and time frames of getting into space.
Trend #2: Non-government organizations are also launching these small sats into orbit, which is helping organizations get their payload into space in a shorter time window. It will be interesting to see how these technologies continue to develop and impact the cost and time frames of getting into space.
Trend #3: Another big topic is 3D printing, which is helping speed up and reduce the cost of manufacturing, and will likely aid space travelers, as it has already done on the International Space Station, as a solution to parts not readily available.
5. Why is the space industry ripe for disruption?
KC: Whether it is the race back to the Moon, on to Mars or asteroid mining, the global space industry has many more players than existed in the past. Space has become more accessible and people are using space products and services at a phenomenally increasing rate. Entrepreneurs and government agencies are thinking more innovatively. The disruption this will undoubtedly cause will have a significant impact on life here on Earth.
About Kevin Cook
Overseeing marketing and communications efforts across the Space Foundation enterprise, Kevin Cook works with a team of top-flight graphic designers, web developers, program managers, and executive leadership to create and implement strategies to achieve mission goals. A member of the Space Foundation team since 2003, he often represents the organization at events and meetings and supervises the development of marketing materials to maintain and enhance the Space Foundation brand to improve public awareness. Prior to joining the Space Foundation, he held leadership positions with marketing and communications firms in Honolulu, Seattle, and Los Angeles. He has extensive experience in advertising, public relations, and promotional marketing, and has provided solutions for corporate, industry and consumer audiences on a local, regional and national basis. He has been recognized by business journals, including AdWeek and PROMO Magazine, and by the Public Relations Society of America. His commentary and editorials have been published and broadcast via radio and the internet. Cook is a graduate of McNeese State University, Lake Charles, La., and an alumni member of the Kappa Alpha Order, Delta Xi Chapter.