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Space: The New Frontier
Well, 2009 is now behind us. And for those of us who generate revenue mostly from the military embedded market, it's been a much better year than for those companies that generate revenue elsewhere. We've all had to review our market and our position in it. In some cases we only needed to shift emphasis and in others we needed to make adjustments to our products. Overall, our industry has fared well, and all indications are that we will actually see double-digit growth-although just barely double-digits. That may not seem earth-shattering, but I know of many industries that even wish their decline was only as little as our forecasted gain.
2010 will still be a transition year for military programs and the trickle down effect will be felt by our industry-as we compete for the new opportunities and recover from opportunities lost. One of the biggest unknowns is when the Administration will get rid of the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. It's clear that the time will come when he'll have outlived his usefulness as a target for all the issues from the last Administration. Or, he'll reach a point when he's just had enough. Gates has many detractors, mostly from people who feel he sold them out. Frankly, such people are the ones who just haven't been able to face reality and accept that the ride is changing. I speculate that sometime in 2010 Gates will either resign or announce his resignation. The big issue then: Will he be replaced by a highly qualified individual or by a political crony? The answer to that question will determine our industry's rate of continuing growth.
Every year we look at COTS Journal and figure out what we need to do to stay number one. In 2009 we added more images, made the book more people interactive, and related the embedded technology to the end-use systems. We put up our improved website: www.cotsjournalonline.com /www.mecjournal.com. In 2010 we're going to continue the experiment. We started this year by having industry analysts contribute pertinent data for our market. This has been highly successful and we've received many positive comments from our readers. We're also continuing our affiliation with MILCOM and AUSA and adding a series of RTECC shows that will have an added military focus to them around key military depots: Huntsville, AL; Robins Air Force Base (AFB); Melbourne, FL; Eglin AFB; and Wright-Patterson AFB. And we will also feature issues key to the military market at our premier shows in Santa Clara and Boston.
COTS Journal started tracking the space market in 2008 and we will continue to do so. Most recently we were invited to attend the STS-129 launch of the space shuttle (Figure 1)-a great place to meet people who are in the industry and make connections. I made a just such a connection in the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville (one of our RTECC locations), a key participant in the Aries I & V programs. We all know that space is a very limited-quantity market, but it is a market that acts as a technology driver. I've perused through the NASA publications and was impressed by how many space industry technology creations recently moved to the military and commercial market. If COTS Journal is the leader in presenting and airing the technologies used in military/aerospace/severe environment markets, then we do need to stay on top of space electronics technologies, and we're committed to doing just that.
Space Shuttle mission STS-129 Atlantis launches on November 16th on its way to the International Space Station. (Photo by Warren Andrews).
Everyone stay in touch, and have a happy holiday and a joyous and prosperous New Year.