World Market of the Space Sector in 2005

Space transportation

Telecommunications

Ground equipmen

Space transportation

Ground equipmen

Others

.Satellites

Others

Navigation

Space Services 80 Bn. $

Others

Others

Navigation

Space Services 80 Bn. $

Space Products 70 Bn. $

Space financed nanotechnology developments unprobable due to budget restrictions

Adaption and qualification of nanotechnologi-cal products for space

Illustration 22: Prognosticated market volume in 2005 for space products and services (source: ISBC 2000)

As evaluation criterion here, it is assessed in what respect nano-technological components could make a contribution for development of these market potentials.

5.8.5 Potential application obstacles in space

Some economic and technological barriers as well as application obstacles oppose the utilization of nanotechnological components in space, which are discussed in the following.

5.8.5.1 Economic barriers

The development of nanotechnology products is as a rule connected with high financial R&D expenditures, for example in the range of nano-electronics or nanobiotechnology. Therefore the development of commercial space specific nanotechnology products is hardly expected, since the space sector now only represents a niche market due to the small quantities of items. On the other side, cost intensive nanotechnology developments by the space sector are likewise unlikely in a short to medium term due to budget restrictions and the long process chain up to the space qualified product. Nanotechnology applications in space are thus primarily realizable in cases where the space sector, similar to the range of microsystem engineering, rather acts as a „technology follower" than a „technology pusher". This means that the space sector adapts and qualifies nanotechnology products developed for terrestrial market to space specific applications. Own nanotechnology developments by the space sector are to be expected only with public funding. In Germany and in Europe however, only very limited resources are available for these purposes, while in the USA, NASA spends substantial funds for space specific nanotechnology research.

robustness

5.8.5.2 Technological barriers

The extreme ambient conditions in space (high-energy radiation, high vacuum, extreme temperature gradients and temperatures, extreme mechanical and thermal loads during launch and re-entry) in principle limit the application possibilities of nanotechnological components. Thus for .. , , . ,, f of Nanotechnology offers example, the radiation sensitivity of electronic components increases partiy inherent advan-generally with miniaturization. On the other side, some nano-components tages with regard to and systems offer even inherent advantages concerning robustness and radiation hardness and radiation hardness despite the small structure sizes due to the utilization of new physical effects, e.g. magnetoelectronic memories and quantum dot lasers. Also within the range of nanomaterials, nanostructuring leads frequently to advantages regarding the applicability in space, so that the extreme requirements in spaceflight do not represent a general barrier for nanotechnology products, but should be regarded differentiated for each respective component.

A further technological obstacle refers to the miniaturization of complete space systems, which is limited by the necessary functionalities of the payload (e.g. large telescopes and antennas, high communication performance, high propulsion power, high on board autonomy). This however cannot be regarded as a general obstacle for nanotechnology, since also in case of large space structures and components the application of miniaturized, energy saving and high performance components and subsystems usually offers substantial advantages, among other things regarding cost reduction.

5.8.5.3 Communication barriers

As a further barrier for nanotechnology applications in space few contacts and little cooperation between the space and nanotechnology scene can be determined, resulting in information deficits. The undrlying reasons are among others different attitudes and philosophies as well as insufficient communication processes between both specialized scenes. This is at least valid for Europe and Germany, while in the USA the collaboration of nanotechnology and space scenes is much more intensive.

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