Investing in Space: Deloitte formalizes its space consulting business, with an eye on growth

Deloitte has formalized its space consulting services, joining other consulting giants in the race to offer advice to the burgeoning space industry.

Investing in Space: Deloitte formalizes its space consulting business, with an eye on growth

Orbital Consulting

Global consulting groups can't be left out of the growing space industry.

Deloitte, one of the Big 4, formalized its space consulting service this week, while other consulting giants such as McKinsey BCG, and Bain are competing for a piece of the pie.

I spoke with Brett Loubert of Deloitte Consulting, principal and leader for the government and public sector's efforts in the new space group, to find out more about the way consulting firms think through the sector opportunities.

Loubert noted that space is "increasingly significant" for companies and governments whether or not they are operating in this domain. There's also a "general enthusiasm it generates, both internally and externally." He noted that Deloitte Space was founded over 15 years ago, but its formalization is the culmination after five years of pushing into space to "bring together the full range of our capabilities."

Loubert divides the space consulting opportunities into two categories: Space as mission or business and Space as growth opportunity. The first represents clients who design and launch systems into space, or whose primary product or services are space-based or have a business unit dedicated to space. However, the latter has perhaps the most lucrative potential.

Loubert explained that "that second group, and the framing, is a way we are getting excited both internally and outside, about not only how our industry looks today but also what it is enabling in almost every other sector that we work in."

He said that his job involves "demystifying" the concept of "space", and he believes there is more to be done to improve the way the space industry markets its products and services.

Loubert said that the space industry is like any other, with its "ups" and "downs". The biggest difference is that the private sector now drives much of the space industry's innovation and growth, whereas historically, it was the government.

Loubert said that general estimates of the space economy reaching $1 trillion by 2040 were "conservative", since this represents a growth rate compounded annually of only 5% to 6.0%.

He said that you are seeing more and more companies "closing the deal".

Loubert explained, "I believe what you are seeing is that a lot of business cases in the space industry are closing down or can be projected to shut down."

On April 18, I will be in Colorado with McKinsey's Senior Partner Ryan Brukardt to discuss consulting and space. We'll see you there!

Virgin Orbit, which has been unable to secure financing, files for bankruptcy and fires nearly all of its employees. After CEO Dan Hart informed employees that Virgin Orbit would cease operations "for the near future," the rocket builder filed under Chapter 11 protection. Virgin Orbit COO Tony Gingiss sent an email to his employees on his last day. He apologized for the company's leadership and criticized them for their failures. The company eliminated 675 jobs. SpaceX completed its 22nd launch this year, flying the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 0 Mission, carrying 10 satellites as the first step in the broader constellation. SDA director Derek Tournear stated that communications were established with all three satellites three days after the launch. NASA has revealed the four astronauts who will be flying on Artemis 2's mission to the moon in 2024. Three Americans and one Canadian will be aboard the spaceflight: Reid Wiseman from NASA and Christina Koch, Victor Glover, and Jeremy Hansen, from the Canadian Space Agency. SpaceX is preparing to launch Starship into orbit this month. The company has been preparing the rocket and Super Heavy boosters for the launch while awaiting FAA approval. Dawn Aerospace, a New Zealand-based company, has completed its first rocket-powered spaceplane flights. Its Mk-II Aurora has completed three low-altitude tests flights. The company wants to fly its spaceplane up to 100 km altitude. Momentus successfully tests Vigoride-5 in space. This is a major milestone for its water-based technology. Maxar shows off its new 16-foot robotic arm in a test for the SPIDER (Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot), which can be used to perform tasks like assembling a spacecraft or reconfiguring it while in orbit. Seattle suburb creates "space district": Redmond, Washington has become a hotbed for space talent, with companies such as SpaceX and Amazon. The new district was created to reflect its growth. Members of the Republican House Science and Space Committee call on NASA Headquarters to crackdown on remote work. The representatives sent a message to NASA Administrator Bill Nelson saying that only 31% of NASA staff at headquarters reported for in-person tasks as of January. NASA policy prohibits missions from being named after people, and this has been reinforced after the controversy over the James Webb Space Telescope. The company said that Apex will fly the first Aries-based satellite on a SpaceX Transporter in January 2024. It called it "the fastest launch-to-founding of any spacecraft within the Aries class." The RAND study, which was requested by Congress, found that'significant work still remains' to be done in the regulation of human spaceflight. It also recommended that existing safety practices and proprietary ones should be changed. Rand

Industry maneuvers

True Anomaly, a Colorado-based startup, has emerged from the shadows after raising $30 million so far to fund its plans for building spacecraft and software tailored specifically to Space Force requirements. The company's first spacecraft, the Jackal Autonomous Orbital Vehicle (AOV), is expected to be produced later this year. Spire extends contract with NRO for radio frequency commercial data. The company won a National Reconnaissance Office Award, and the agency exercised two options up to March 2025. Spire signs deal for undisclosed sum with Switzerland's ch-aviation to "supply global flights analytics and insights which will enhance its airline intelligence databases." Lockheed Martin has been selected by the Australian Defence Force as their 'preferred' bidder for communication satellites and supporting technology. D-Orbit has been awarded a $28 million contract (EUR26million) by the European Space Agency to provide and manage the IRIDE spacecraft, a synthetic-aperture radar spacecraft. - D-Orbit

Boldly Going

Martin Sion is the new CEO of ArianeGroup. Arianespace builds rockets for ArianeGroup. Sion previously served as CEO of Safran Electronics & Defense. Andre-Hubert Roussel, the previous ArianeGroup chief executive officer, reportedly stepped down at the end of last month. Momentus hires Eric Williams as its CFO. He replaces interim CFO Dennis Mahoney. Leslie Hildebrand, former director of Lockheed Martin's Space Security Team's business development strategy and strategy, joins Slingshot Aerospace in the role of SVP Government Business Development and Strategy. Sirisha bandla has been named chair of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. The Virgin Galactic VP will take over the board of directors from Caryn Scheenewerk. Caleb Henry has been appointed to the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship executive team, a non-profit dedicated to improving diversity within the space industry. Henry, who is the director of research at Quilty, succeeds Col. B. Alvin Drew Jr., a retired astronaut, on the PGS executive team. Jeremy Schiel has left Orbit Fab and his position as Chief Development officer. Orbit Fab's cofounder stated that a family emergency forced him to make the difficult decision. Schiel

Market Movers