Industry experts said space startups are engaging more with the U.S. government as they see it as a client and as an investor, SpaceNews reported Thursday.
“2019 was the year of government,” Carissa Christensen, CEO of analyst firm Bryce Space & Technology, said Tuesday at a Washington Space Business Roundtable event. “We saw many firms overtly or less overtly turn towards government as a potential customer.”
Christensen said the establishment of the Space Force and a rise in study contracts from agencies like the National Reconnaissance Office are driving startups’ interest in government contracts.
Ryan Lewis, a senior vice president at In-Q-Tel, said the government has begun to go beyond “exploratory” contracts with startups in the past six years. “It’s nontrivial for a startup to either launch that campaign themselves or figure out the right teaming arrangement, especially if you’re new to the sector,” he added.
Lewis noted that startups seeking to bid on government contracts have been submitting inquiries about how to enter into partnerships with prime contractors.