Analysis of patent information in the manned spaceflight industry has revealed the speed of innovation growth in the area of rocket science. Nations with active manned space programs – the United States, China and Russia – represent three-fifths of all patent protection with a worldwide total of more than 4,300 patented space innovations filed since 1960.
Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth in 1961, but during the following 55 years, fewer than 600 people have since travelled into space. The aim of commercial spaceflight is to increase this number by making space travel cheaper, safer and commercially viable.
To pave the way for commercial spaceflight, companies are focusing on less expensive methods of lifting people and cargo to orbit. The highest volume of patent applications to date concentrate on technologies that guide and control spacecraft, provide a life supporting environment, and develop docking systems that allow astronauts to disembark in orbit.
To better understand who is leading the trends and developments in manned spaceflight innovation, CPA Global’s Innovation Intelligence team has released a detailed Technology Intelligence Report, using in-depth patent analysis that identifies the nations and companies spearheading technology advancement.
The report recognises emerging entities in space innovation including Blue Origin – a private spaceflight company founded by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. This marks a change from traditional government contractors, such as Boeing, supplying launch services to the government, to private corporations developing launch systems for their own commercial uses.
Ed White, Vice President, Innovation Intelligence Services at CPA Global comments: “Rocket science is the definition of technology. Since sending the first man into orbit in 1961, manned spaceflight has been at the forefront of innovation. There is no shortage of public and private entities dedicated to developing the spacecraft and technology needed to secure safe passage in human space travel.”