Most entrepreneurs that I meet in NewSpace are talented, enthusiastic and energic people There are few that I would say really are at the peak of that mountain of entrepreneurs and here is where I would like to introduce Taichi Yamazaki, CEO and Founder of Astrax.
For the people and by the people are the first few words that come to my mind when I look at this video of parabolic flights offered by Astrax. You see ordinary people from all walks of life, students, bridges, dreamers coming together to share a common experience that is truly out of the ordinary. The difference is, by the end of the video, you sense that actually this experience of space, be it closer to earth than outer space, is still an important and aspiration goal that could and perhaps even should be open to everyone.
Some would call it democratisation of space – where space is open and accessible. It is very much along the lines of what NewSpace is about.
Astrax has great vision and it touches upon every aspect of life. Whatever you can think of on earth, why not replicate it on space, more specifically on the Moon.
I thought I was a dreamer until I met Astrax and realised dreams really have no limitation and are only limited by our imagination. When I hear and listen to people speak of Astrax, I find first and foremost how these people are truly the kind of people whom you would consider as your neighbour, basically ordinary folks with big dreams.
This grassroots passion is so important for space and there are a few reasons for that:
a. Space is about people
Imagine if we waited another 50 years and we still never made it to the Moon. At this point, it is probably one of the most depressing thoughts one could have. On the contrary, what if humanity is truly mobilised to explore space together. Again not just for the elitist, not just for the billionaires or those currently working in space, but everyone – the chef, farmer, salesperson, teacher, nanny – everyone.
b. Space is about connecting us with humanity
Time and time again and more recently I gave a talk at the International Christian University and a student asked a very good question, and one that perhaps is asked often. “Why go to space, when we have so many problems on earth?” I don’t have a perfect answer, but I think space or at least exploring space plays a role to uplift humanity, to give us aspirations and to enable us to explore new territories when in the past we may not have considered to venture out.
c. Exploring space reconnects us with earth
In my person blog, I would explore consciousness and reconnecting with ourselves. I think exploration allows us to reconnect us with earth.
When Astrax members speak of space tourism, space travel, space hotel, space food, actually there isn’t a massive gap in what they are trying to do. They only want to serve and deliver the same things they are doing on earth. Whilst it is not today that we can achieve and deliver such things, but perhaps a few more years and even longer, the dream I think is what sustains explorers, scientists and pioneers to pursuit such goals and empower others to do the same.
I think Astrax plays a greater role than just being a NewSpace startup. They are touching the lives of ordinary people who may have never dreamed of going to space and somehow turned that around in realising their dreams through understanding what we can all achieve the same goal.
Written by Helen Tung
Emergent Tech Advisor/MINERVA Fellow, EU- Japan Centre
Creative Convenor, EU-Japan NewSpace2060 Illustrated Haiku Competition 2019