Is Outer Space the Next Logistics Frontier?

May 24, 2018International Logistics

The most progressive logistics companies are looking to the sky and starting initial conversations around the outer space frontier. Being at the forefront of our industry, TOC Logistics International is tracking this topic. Here’s what you should know!



Everyone knows about the shiny rockets and exciting discoveries in outer space, however, what most people might not think about are the logistics and staff that make it all possible. Managing outer space explorations is extremely complicated, and a day in the life on the International Space Station (ISS) requires an immense amount of supplies.

Aside from launching cool rockets and space equipment, vehicles must transport shipments of fuel, tools, food and oxygen to the ISS on a consistent basis. Yes, the ISS staff needs to eat, drink coffee, and use toiletries too! The problem is there is only a limited amount of space on the station, so every single item that enters the base has a barcode that is scanned and loaded into a tedious inventory management system.

There are also outgoing shipments to think about, like exporting trash and sewage in order to maintain safety and cleanliness standards. Although these inbound and outbound voyages happen on a regular basis, they still require intense coordination and logistics companies are fighting to create the best solutions.



From vehicle routes and traffic control, to the number of vehicles the station can accommodate at a time, to scheduling around eclipses, rare weather conditions, and the complicated day-night schedules of the ISS staff, a number of factors go into each and every voyage. Companies are fighting to create the best logistical solutions, and they are racing to keep up with the advancing technology that is making access to space more practical and prevalent.

One of these recent advancements in space equipment is the Falcon Heavy rocket launched by SpaceX. This rocket proved it is possible to launch large quantities of supplies both to and from outer space. This has initiated the thought-process of streamlining both inbound and outbound deliveries.

Additionally, several organizations have started solving for different space-earth supply chain software. For example, the MIT’s Interplanetary Supply Chain Management and Logistics Architectures (IPSCM&LA) project aims to create a guide for interplanetary supply chain. Even key players like NASA, China Aerospace Industry Corporation (CASC), and European Space Agency (ESA) are searching for ways to increase their efficiency.



We can expect that as the technological landscape continues to advance, outer space capabilities will advance in congruence. We also know that exploring opportunities beyond our globe has always been a highly competitive field, so companies will continue to fight for the top. As a leading logistics solutions company, TOC Logistics will be right there with them.


Our capable and experienced team is standing by to assist organizations and supply chains across the globe. Click the button to get in touch with our team.

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