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Axiom space station
艺术家的概念显示了Axiom Space的建议空间站。(公理空间图)

What will commercial space stations be good for? The application that typically comes up would be their use as space hotels, or maybe zero-gravity research labs and factories.

But space industry veteranRob Meyersonhas a different idea in mind — and in his role asoperating partner at C5 Capital USA,他能够把一些钱放在背后。

“Looking for new markets is something we’re highly motivated to do,” Meyerson told GeekWire. “Data storage and compute is one market. Cybersecurity is another.”

The possibilities for providing data and security services on the final frontier played a big role in C5 Capital’s decision to lead a $130 million funding round for Texas-basedAxiom Space,这是由于send citizen astronauts to the International Space Station next year并且可以start laying the groundwork for its own space stationin 2024.

“We have a lot of data that’s created in space, but how valuable would it be to actually do compute and storage in space?” Meyerson asked. “We’ve been talking with Axiom about that and helping them to form partnerships. How do we use the C5 portfolio in cybersecurity and threat protection to assist Axiom with their supply chain and their partners, to bring the most advanced technologies to that critically important area?”

In connection with the funding deal, Meyerson has joined Axiom Space’s board of directors. It’s the latest big move for Meyerson, who lives in Tacoma, Wash., andserved as the president of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture从2003年到2017年。

Rob Meyerson
Blue Origin’s Rob Meyerson speaks at the 2016 International Symposium on Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in New Mexico. (ISPCS via YouTube)

Meyerson’s experience in the space industry goes even further back than Blue Origin, taking in a six-year stint as senior program manager for Kistler Aerospace’sk - 1 reusable launch vehicle(which never got off the ground) and 12 years as an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

But it’s only been in the past few years that people have been talking seriously about creating privately owned outposts in Earth orbit. Space tourism and in-space manufacturing no longer seem as far out as they once did, and Meyerson believes Axiom Space is well-placed to capitalize on the possibilities.

“如果我们在2019年在2019年做过这一点,这就是我们不会投注的机会,”他说。“But in 2020, it was perfectly aligned, and we said, ‘OK, well, here are all these services, and let’s invest in the destination.’ There’s only one company out there that has this exclusive contract with NASA to access the node on the ISS, and that’s Axiom Space.”

That doesn’t mean Axiom Space will have the space station market all to itself. Other companies — includingSierra Nevada Corp.,Bigelow Aerospace,纳米拉克和Meyerson’s old teammates atBlue Origin— also have plans on the drawing boards.

At the same time, heavyweights ranging fromAmazonMicrosofttoLockheed Martinare looking into ways to extend cloud computing to the space frontier. Satellite constellations such asSpaceX’s Starlink和Amazon’s yet-to-be-launchedProject Kuipercould play a big role in those efforts.

What’s so attractive about moving data processing off the planet?

“最重要的是,在空间中产生了很多数据,”梅德森解释说。“我们可以设想在空间中生成数据的许多用例,在世界的一部分中传输回地球,并且在该数据上完成了计算操作来处理它并将其转换为可操作的数据,然后被传送到世界的另一部分,以采取行动。“

Space-based processing could dramatically streamline that data flow.

“我们认为,在太空中进行那些计算机操作将通过一秒钟的分数来减少决策时间表,如果不是秒,”Meyerson说。

So does that mean Axiom Space will be going up against Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure? Not at all, Meyerson said.

“They can definitely draw upon Axiom Space,” he said. “We have great relationships with those companies, and all of the cloud providers and service providers that work on top of the cloud. I think they’re very obvious choices for partners.”

Speaking of partners, the perils of the past year have only confirmed Meyerson’s view that space ventures mesh well with the rest ofC5 Capital’s investment portfolio, which is heavy with companies that focus on big data and cybersecurity.

“The digital transformation of everything we do has been so accelerated during the pandemic,” he noted. “And it’s making us more and more vulnerable. So the combination of two things — becoming more reliant on space for critical infrastructure, and the digital transformation leading to more vulnerability — just makes our investments in cybersecurity more important. And we think the natural application is in space.”

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