Space for Kentucky

Space Industries

Satellite view of a planet Earth – iStock-1012400706.jpg

Research & Development

Innovation and discoveries provide new value to every aspect of human life including health, manufacturing, energy, and communications.

Space Tango in Lexington at

Space Tango in Lexington is leading scientific research that is focused on improving health and bio-manufacturing. Here is a statement from the payload launch release in December 21, 2021. 

“LambdaVision and Space Tango’s goal is to leverage microgravity to improve upon layer-by-layer deposition to produce the first protein-based artificial retina to restore meaningful vision for patients who are blind or have lost significant sight due to advanced retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).”


The launch and delivery systems for satellites, equipment, supplies manufactured items, and people. The FAA and other entities are establishing a point-to-point infrastructure through spaceports.

Virgin Galactic supersonic jet (Image: Virgin Galactic)

Satellite Services

Most of the space industry is satellites. This area includes the operation of satellites and related facilities such as ground stations. Morehead University focuses on SmallSat programs. It also provides services for the space industry. 

Starlink Starlink Satellite


Communication and networking services that are satellite-based technology play a foundational role in data transmissions, internet connections, and cell phones. This area of development will expand as we build new systems for communications between the Moon and Mars. 

New technology is in development for the manufacturing of cleaner fiber optics that occurs in space. 


There is a large amount of data waiting to be used. More powerful computers will be developed to access this data, utilize machine learning, and communicate long distances. 


Location systems such as the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Earth Observation

Observing Earth for weather forecasting, pollution, disaster management (forest fire, oil spills, drought, etc.), defense, security, commercial intelligence, agriculture (crop and pest monitoring), resource management, and science.

Planet Earth from space close up with Cloud formations. Stock-610228442.jpg

Climate Crisis

Space observation provides many tools for businesses to tap into as they do their part to provide solutions to the climate crisis.

Disaster Prevention

The reduction or avoidance of risks to Earth from space, particularly asteroid impact prevention.

Risk Management

The management of space-related risks, for example, insurance for commercial installations in space.

Air & Water

Water and breathable air are precious commodities in space. New technologies are being developed in space that can be adapted for a cleaner planet.

Falling blue water drop splash – iStock-585060716.jpg


Solar technologies and fuel development directly impact our lives on our planet. Solar gets more efficient as we reach further into space. Alternative fuels could provide solutions to pollution and fossil fuel dependency.  

Satellite communications with earth reflecting in solar panels ( Elements of this 3d image furnished by NASA)

Agriculture & Aquaculture

People have to eat. As we develop new and more efficient ways of growing food in space with few resources, those technologies will enhance farming practices here on Earth. 

Aerospace Manufacturing

The largest industry in Kentucky is aerospace. This space-related industry includes the design, production, and maintenance of rockets, aircraft, and spacecraft.

Space Manufacturing

Pharmaceuticals, 3D bioprinting of hearts and fiberoptics are examples of manufacturing that can be created in space. Gravity-free processes provide results that are dramatically different. 

As we reach deeper into space, many items and materials will need to be created off-planet. 

Space Tourism

This segment had a big year in 2021. Virgin Galactic, Blue Origin, and SpaceX sent civilians to space. Blue Origin has had multiple flights. Other companies have plans to launch in the near future. 

The International Space Station is scheduled to have its first Private Astronaut Mission in February of 2022. 

Hotels and other tourist experiences will be created in the near future. As these new destinations come to fruition, hospitality services including culinary delights and spirits will add to the overall experience. 

Picture from Space Perspectives at

Space Spirits

This segment is one that Kentucky can expand its current industry. Space Drink Association is researching how spirits and brews are affected by space. 

Space Cuisine 

Food needs to be enjoyed. Official astronauts and space tourists need to enjoy their meals. For long-term missions, new culinary technologies need to be developed.

Service Industry

Services are provided to workers, students, and tourists in space such as a hotel, restaurants, or gym.


Educational experiences in space such as an opportunity to conduct research in space environments.

Working on a school project

Astronaut training – 

As more citizens go to space, they will need facilities that can prepare them for the journey. A spaceport can serve as training grounds for astronaut preparation and simulation. 

The caverns and mining shafts of Kentucky could be converted to house simulated Mars and Moon expeditions experiences, known as analog missions. 

Commercial training 

A spaceport will provide a place for the training of space flights with support vehicles, ground vehicle, space commerce courses, and many other types of training that benefits space companies. Conferences, expos, and similar events would draw people to the state impacting local businesses. 


Much effort is allocated to discovering more about our world, planets, and universe. Technologies such as the James Webb telescope will open opportunities as well as our eyes. 


A lot of activity is happening in this category. Countries like Japan are bringing back samples from celestial locations to provide materials for manufacturing. Materials are extracted from space environments such as asteroids or the Moon. 

Kentucky has a rich mining history that could provide value to this emerging industry. Eastern Kentucky could benefit from this initiative and revitalize the area.  


Robotics are able to operate in high-risk environments that humans cannot. This segment is critical for space manufacturing, exploration, and research. In addition to this area, robotic expansion in space impacts industries on Earth from prosthetics to farming.  

Moon rover at JAXA booth at IAC 2019

Space Environment

This segment includes cleaning up or preventing damage to the space environment. Despite the space industry being in its initial stages, space junk in orbit around the Earth has become a risk to space infrastructure and Earth itself due to the presence of hazardous materials such as nuclear reactors.

Space Finance

Space has potential for capital-intensive projects beyond anything attempted on Earth. As space industries grow, it is possible that the capital deployed in space will exceed that of Earth.