Eren Ozmen could become the first female billionaire to launch a private space company.
- The World Economic Forum predicts that the space economy is currently worth $469 billion and will expand to more than $1 trillion by the end of the decade as NASA and SpaceX make strides toward space exploration, tourism, and commercialization.
- Hundreds of aerospace developers, startups, venture capital firms, and investors are pouring money into this market, creating rivals to SpaceX—such as Relativity Space, United Launch Alliance, and ASTRA.
- Sierra Nevada Corp. is one such potential rival, previously having failed with its Dream Chaser reusable shuttle-craft in 2013. Now the company has won part of a shared $14 billion NASA contract and hundreds of millions in investments to build a new Dream Chaser.
- The company is owned by Eren and Fatih Ozmen, two relatively unknown Turkish billionaires. They hope to turn a small defense company into a rival to Elon Musk’s space empire. It is currently the largest female-owned federal defense contractor in the U.S., Fortune reports.
Why It’s Important
Sierra Nevada Corp. (not related to the beer company) is already a successful venture, making 80% of its revenue selling military equipment to the U.S. Air Force. Still, the company is eager to take a considerable risk on a venture such as space.
It has never completed a spacecraft, but its components have been used on previous NASA missions. The new vehicle has yet to be designed, launched, or tested and is expected to cost $500 million before it is ready.
The promised Dream Chases spacecraft is a smaller variant of NASA’s Space Shuttle, designed to be reusable up to 15 times and land on commercial runways. As Fortune notes, this gives the vehicle a commercial advantage as a glider returning to earth, able to carry more sensitive payloads back to the planet’s surface.
“We’re doing it because we have the drive and innovation, and we see an opportunity–and need—for the U.S. to continue its leadership role in this important frontier,” Fatih Ozmen tells Fortune. “Space is more than a business for us. When we were children, on the other side of the world, we watched the moon landing on a black-and-white TV. It gave us goose bumps. It was so inspirational.”
“Look at the United States and what women can do here compared to the rest of the world. That is why we feel we have a legacy to leave behind,” Eren Ozmen continues.