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The Future of Aerospacelab

The satellite industry is a rapidly developing space, with new technology and applications emerging at a steady pace. On Episode 25 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to Benoît Deper, the CEO and founder of Aerospacelab, about how he sees the future of the industry unfolding. Aerospacelab was founded in 2018, with the aim of making geospatial intelligence both actionable and affordable, with its fully vertically integrated approach. Just last month, they launched their second satellite on a falcon nine rocket. Following these advancements, we asked Benoît about what we can expect to see from the company next. 

What’s the most exciting recent development that you’re working on now?

What we’re building is quite interesting. We are trying to find the right balance between custom and standardised satellite buses, and we are iterating on that. What we discovered so far is that fully standardised buses are not what the customer wants, because they want to feel special and have their particular needs and requirements met. But, at the same time, they like the standard price. The real challenge is to find something that looks like a customised product, but has a price tag that is more in line with the standardised product. It is quite exciting to oscillate between the two sides and find a path where we believe we can converge to create something that is exciting for our customers. 

What are you most excited to see Aerospacelab achieve in the next 3-5 years? 

Now it’s a matter of scaling and being profitable. So again, it’s quite interesting to see what our technology will look like after the first couple of years. We have started to see some territory that would allow us to do that. Not everything is going according to plan, because as Napoleon said, ‘the plan is only valid until the first shot is fired’. However, we’re on track to meet our KPIs. Not that far in the future we hope to be profitable. For a NewSpace company that is huge, because it’s a small world where we have many brands, and we talk to each other quite often. Not that many NewSpace companies are actually profitable out there, so we’re excited to reach that goal. 

To hear more from Benoît about the future of the industry, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How Can the Satellite and NewSpace Industry Engaged With External Talent?

At neuco, we’re experts at sourcing talent for the Satellite & NewSpace industry. We recently spoke to Tamara Bond Williams, the Director of Engagement at Space and Satellite Professionals International, on Episode 24 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast about how the industry can attract talent from other sectors to improve the diversity of skills within it. Tamara works to expand and enhance the professional lives of SSPI members, giving her valuable insights into the working lives of those within the Satellite & NewSpace industry. Read on for her insights on the topic. 

How have things changed around attracting people from outside STEM into the Satellite industry?

I think the only big change that I can really speak to is the awareness. There have always been people in the industry who came from outside of STEM. That has been true the entire time, but we are becoming increasingly aware of that fact. This is largely because of the rate of expansion in our industry, the number of startup companies and the way that legacy companies are diversifying how they engage. There’s just so much happening, and it puts pressure on the industry to think about ‘Where’s all this talent coming from to manage all this expansion?’ We’re now looking at it, not because it’s new, but because we now have competitive pressure to meet a need.

What other industries could people enter the satellite industry from?

There are several. For example, there is a specific investment community that has specialised in investing in space and satellite. We have insurance companies that are specialised in the same way. We have legal companies that do space law. There are so many companies that already exist whose niches fit our industry. The question is not ‘Are they out there?’ The question is, ‘Have we done enough to promote participation in the space industry itself?’ 

We should be saying ‘Hey, we’re going to the moon again. Where can you fit in?’. We need to advertise the career paths around lunar exploration. Our conversations should be around ‘We need more colloquiums around the legal ramifications of going to space. What are the international ramifications? What is the investment opportunity?’ We haven’t explored the opportunities enough, and we haven’t yet communicated outside of our bubble that there are plenty of opportunities here and that we want people to be a part of them.

What can companies do to proactively find talent outside the industry?

I think that companies need to be having the conversation themselves. SSPI is working to expand that conversation through our various webinars and roundtables. We had this conversation recently to talk about the idea of what I called ‘outside in’. That means people who are outside companies themselves need to be proactive to have the conversation. 

One of the things that would be super beneficial is for them to create a path. Let’s say ‘If you have these skills, here’s how it maps to what we need in our company, this is how you get in and this would be your growth opportunity’. It’s all about giving people who are outside the industry a clear view of how they can get into it. If companies don’t know where those paths are, they can work with a recruitment company to articulate those pathways. You’ve got to do the groundwork of figuring out where people with these skills fit in, and then find ways to keep that talent once you’ve attracted it. 

To hear more from Tamara, tune into Episode 24 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Inside Earth Observation & Data Analysis 

Earth Observation has been a hot topic in the NewSpace industry for several months now. On Episode 23 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Kammy Brun, an expert in strategy and business development in aerospace and AI based analytics applications, to discuss the forces driving the growth of Earth Observation. Kammy has held several roles in the space industry, including Airbus and SkyFi. She has also completed multiple degrees, and is currently finalising her MBA. Read on for her insights. 

What are the main applications of the NewSpace industry, and what’s really driving demand for them? 

Defence security has always been the first market for geospatial solutions. Today, we can work together with remote sensing geospatial with the IoT and AIS. That is definitely one of the markets where I can see lots of synergy between different technologies. I believe that we should have some applications which merge geospatial and navigational capabilities and make them more integrated, because the end users don’t really care which technology it is. 

Maritime is another one of the markets that is going quite well. There’s a future there. I’m pretty sure that with the growing numbers of AI-based analytics companies globally, we will be able to offer some solutions which are more tailor made for the end user. We’ll be able to  give end users a solution, but we currently can’t, because they did not know what geospatial was. We can have a bigger market, the reason we don’t is because we do not yet have a perfect solution for the end user. 

For our users, it’s relative. They want to have something easy to use – they don’t care about what it does or image resolution or the AI behind it. It’s very difficult to offer a service that is simple and easy to use and gives you the answer that you need, but those private markets will be able to grow in the next few years as the technology develops. For today, those geospatial companies are offering better and better solutions that will draw people into the industry. 

How is the industry currently leveraging these technologies to enhance data analysis and decision making processes?

AI and machine learning has always been used in geospatial markets. We use it for object or change detection. It’s also been used to classify different objects in a set of images. Today we are using it even more than we did five years ago. It is a good market driver for companies who manage more data, because today’s AI and machine learning will be able to help them manipulate or ingest more data. 

In the remote sensing markets, we’re expecting a baby boom of hyperspectral constellations. Hyperspectral is not new, but we have not always used it from space – it was originally used from planes or drones. With NewSpace hyperspectral images and geospatial expertise, I’m pretty sure that a lot of applications will open up as we increase the data supply. We will have a better usage of AI and new applications. Currently we know some of the use cases with hyperspectral, but we are not yet fully exploiting the potential. I expect significant growth in the next few years.

To learn more about Kammy’s work and experiences in the NewSpace industry, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How to Ensure Humanity Survives the Existential Challenges of this Generation and Thrives to the New Century

The younger generations are facing a range of challenges on a global scale. On Episode 22 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Jim Keravala, the Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Architect at OffWorld, to talk about the innovative solutions that the space industry is creating to tackle these issues. Jim has extensive experience in a range of space sectors, and currently sits on several advisory boards such as the National Space Society, International Moonbased Alliance and the Moon Village Association. He co-founded OffWorld to extract critical minerals, minerals and materials on Earth and in space using swarms of smart industrial robots. Read on to how space is set to save the world.

“The challenges that we’re facing today are, in part, born out of our own successes as a species. The other part is our systemic, steady state of ongoing risks that are always in the background – and to some extent, the intersection of the two is another challenge in itself. I think the manifestation of all of these challenges is not the uncertainties of big environmental cataclysms or other single impact changes. The more concerning risks are those that are subject to cascading sequencing. 

There’s always the asteroid impact issue. Stars could go supernova and create an untenable environment for life on this planet. There’s always the big issues like that, and those issues are real, but the probability of those occurring in the next 100s or 1000s of years are very, very small. The things that seem small and innocuous, such as the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, are cascading triggers. Greenhouse gases lead to atmospheric temperature rises, leading to loss of biodiversity, leading to changes in weather patterns, climate, ocean current path patterns, which can then lead to reduction of polar ice caps, which can add to the lack of reflectance of Sun’s energy, which can then start increasing those cycles. I’m more concerned by these dynamic instabilities which start running towards catastrophe. 

It’s my personal opinion that it’s a combination of natural cycles and small catalytic inputs into that environmental system that is the biggest threat. There’s a lot of debate around climate change and the origin of it; ‘Is it human generated or is it natural?’ That’s a less important question than ‘What are we going to do about it?’ For everything else we do we tend to take out insurance, whether it’s our car, our home, our pets – whatever is important to us, we insure it. We should take out some form of insurance for our planet as well. That form of insurance is not about creating an escape valve, it’s about opening up a closed system. 

If we can open up the system and use the resources of space, we can genuinely help solve some of these challenges. I believe we are in the midst of these changes already. I personally don’t believe that as a species we’re really that well equipped to deal collectively and sensibly and proactively with challenges that we rationally are aware of. As a species, we tend to wait for things to happen and then deal with the consequences afterwards, despite being able to afford what’s needed to address it now. We just don’t act proactively. To some extent, that’s the nature of our global economic structures as well. The economic structures respond to value in real time, and those same rules for creating long term visions of entrepreneurial change are unfortunately the same rules that applied to long term visions of environmental mitigation. So understanding that, what can we do to break down the problem and solve it once and for all?

I personally believe there are several different classes of mitigation work that can be done. The first is assuming that the consequences of the changes we’re undergoing now are going to happen. If we were going to address climate change, we should have started acting 50 years ago when it became obvious, because it’s too big of a needle to move now. The question that needs more urgent attention is what happens to coastal regions in deprived areas? What do we do for those communities? What are the risks of micro weather pattern changes that are emerging? Whether it’s more hurricanes, greater heat domes, etc, what does that do for agriculture? What does that do for the availability of fresh water? 

The most vulnerable will be the most affected, so coastal regions in emerging nations whose economies and infrastructure are less organised will suffer the most. So what can we do to get ahead of solving that problem? With a focussed enough set of challenges, there can be economic solutions to address them. They have to be economically viable solutions in order for us to help our fellow human beings. The end to end system will not mobilise unless people are making money off it, which sounds a little brutal, but evidence has shown that it tends to be the norm. We can provide humanitarian aid on a momentary basis for extreme isolated events because it’s part of our nature to try and help, but that nature becomes increasingly subject to economic pressure, and that’s the reality of humanity. 

That first class of problems is focussed on how we can help those who are affected by the changes that are emerging. The second class is how to mitigate the effects of it on this generation. The third class is, assuming those changes are coming, what can we do to truly turn that around by the 22nd century? The solution is to build space infrastructure which allows us to access the energy and material resources of the inner solar system. We can harvest it by building heavy industrial energy generating infrastructure in space, outside of Earth’s atmosphere. If we can do that in space and bring it down to Earth, we can provide clean, safe energy for our planet without generating heat. It’ll take at least two generations to mature that into an operating infrastructure, but I do believe that by staging economically viable revenue generating milestones from today to the end of the century, we have everything going for us to build these architectures in space. 

Transitioning many of our polluting technologies and industrial processes off the surface of the Earth will protect our local environments. If we build a beautiful cottage in a meadow, the last thing you want to do is put a chemical plant next to it. That’s what we’re doing on our planet though. We have an oasis in the universe, this perfect ball that has allowed life to flourish. Earth is the centre of the Anthropocene universe, and we need to do everything we can to care for it and look after it. 

The challenge is that we need a firm sense of reality on what is happening today. What can we really do about it? What are the changes we’re prepared to accept and tolerate? And what’s the big picture that we really have to focus on? Whilst those changes happen? There are going to be trillions of dollars of economic disruption in the next decades. There will be a lot of suffering, but there will also be a lot of opportunities to help and solve those problems. If we think ahead on those smaller scale problems like ‘how we can help the local communities that are going to be affected?’ There are addressable solutions for that class of problem. Questions like ‘how do we help the next generation or two of families and communities that are going to be in trouble?’ is where we should place our focus, as well as trying to solve the big picture terrestrially and addressing the big solution system. 

To hear more about Jim’s work in the space sector, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Evolution of Satellite & NewSpace Technology 

The Satellite & NewSpace industry is constantly evolving. On Episode 21 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we sat down with Lindsey Kemp, who is the Director of Global Markets at Communications & Power Industries (CPI), to discuss her perspectives on these evolutions. Lindsey has been in the SATCOM industry for 15 years, and is currently responsible for global business development of CPI’s antenna and power electronics unit, which plays a key role in shaping innovation and exploring future technologies for the company. Read on to find out what she had to say. 

The satellite space industry has been continuously evolving evidence creation. How is the ground sat market adapting to those new pressures? 

We’re doing some new developments in terms of both amplifiers and antenna systems. It’s critical that we develop the design for manufacturing in a repeatable way, because we have to meet really aggressive timelines at the factory. We’re currently seeing some of these new product launches being very successful. It’s hard, because while we’re incorporating those manufacturing improvements, there are a lot of new things that we didn’t have to accommodate before, but we’re going to have to accommodate for now. It’s to our benefit that we have so much experience, both in terms of where we started and how we’ve been evolving along the way, because that’s prepared us for these complicated considerations and higher volume demands. 

Where do you think some of these developments could have come from?

We’ve been bringing people in from other industries. We have a new operations manager who is from the automobile industry – there’s quite a few people that we have brought in from there. That’s critical because we need to challenge what we’ve been traditionally used to, and be open to new things that we never thought could potentially be possible to get out of our comfort zone. Bringing things in from outside of industry, such as people who have experienced business elsewhere, is going to bring a totally different perspective to our company. What we’re doing is trying to push everything forward. 

What is the biggest development that we still need to successfully cater to new NDSI platforms?

There’s a lot of offerings at K band for LEO and MEO trackers and amplifiers. The ground infrastructure is there already. I think the big one in the future is going to be supporting the V band. There are some challenges that we need to face, but the great thing is that our company is building both travelling wave tube amplifiers and solid state amplifiers. We have the ability to be agnostic when we go into these situations and see that this one makes sense for this application. One of the big drivers for that scalability is the need for solid state amplifiers to support those deployments. That’s something that is going to be really important for us to stay on top of and make sure that we’re looking to the future to be able to support that when that’s ready, because that’s a whole new ballgame in terms of that technology.

To learn more about evolving technology in the industry, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Improving Accessibility in NewSpace

Accessibility is a key issue in the NewSpace industry. With a number of different applications for satellite technology, there is an increasing focus on enabling smaller players to enter the sector and access the NewSpace sector. On Episode 20 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to Nathan Monster, the CEO and Founder of A-SpaX (which means Affordable Space Access), about the company’s aims to make the opportunities that space offers accessible to as many people as possible. They offer an end to end service that spans from pre launch to delivery. Nathan also shared how we can improve accessibility as an industry. 

What’s been the biggest change in the industry that has made space more accessible to date? 

Access to space has improved with the transportation from Earth to low Earth orbit. There are more frequent launches going into orbit from more commercial companies who have developed their own launchers that go through to space. There are hundreds of rocket companies now. There has been a lot of investment in the space industry too, particularly going into launchers. I’m hoping that now that we’ve gotten into space people will start to think about the return. Questions like ‘While you’re in orbit, what are you going to do there?’ are really important. For me the answer is production and bringing the results back to people on earth. 

What has enabled accessibility more, small satellite launches or rideshare opportunities? 

It’s a complex situation because of the amount of investment that has occurred. So many commercial companies now have the chance to create a difficult transportation system, launch things and reach orbit. That should be a good thing, but it often goes wrong. Having all this competition does bring down the cost and enable a lot of commercial activity, which makes the industry more accessible, but there are downsides too. It’s the investment itself that has created more accessibility rather than rideshares or launches, but I’m interested to see which method will continue to grow accessibility in the space. 

What are the barriers to accessibility and what needs to be done to remove them?

The biggest barrier is making sure a rocket is safe and in a good state. All these commercial companies need to have systems and checks in place to make sure they’re successful. As an industry we need to support these companies so that they have the chance to reach a certain point where these protocols are in order and their systems can mature. That requires quite a lot of capital, and there will be failures along the way, but we need to expect and allow that. We need to keep backing them until they’ve built a protocol to make sure that everything is ready before the launch and is done in a proper order.

To learn more about accessibility in space, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How the NewSpace Industry is Developing

The NewSpace industry is rapidly growing. To unpack the changes going on in the industry we spoke to Harriet Brettle, the Head of Market Analysis and Business Intelligence at the European Space Agency, on Episode 19 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast. Harriet is responsible for the analysis of markets relevant to the satellite communications and space solutions markets, giving her some excellent insights into the way the industry is developing. Here’s what she said: 

Is there anything that’s particularly exciting you about the industry at the moment? 

One of the things I really enjoy about working at the European Space Agency is the breadth of opportunities I have to look at within the space sector. One day I might be looking at understanding the potential of optical communications and how that can transform the satellite industry. The next day, I could be looking at how we can use satellite communication for disaster responses. The day after that I could be considering a completely different question that we haven’t even thought about. The variety of areas that we work with is what really hits home. For me that’s the role that space plays in everyday life. Our industry isn’t sitting in isolation, it’s incredibly connected to and impactful for the rest of the world. I’m excited to be working in the satellite communications area. Understanding the role that satellite communications plays is something I really enjoy. 

What are you most excited to see in the future of the satellite industry? 

Change is the only certain thing, right? That couldn’t be more true for the SATCOM sector at the moment. We’re seeing huge market changes. We’re also seeing how satellite operators and the space industry are reacting to all of that market change too. I don’t want to predict the future because we’re always wrong in some way, but I’m really excited to see how things are going to play out. We’re in a very disruptive, exciting time for SATCOM so I’m looking forward to seeing the innovative ways that new and existing players are going to take on those new challenges.

Do you think there is enough demand to sustain all of the players currently looking to enter the market? 

We’re seeing a whole host of new actors come in and disrupt the market. They also say history repeats itself, right? This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a wave of satellite constellations come onto the market, but I think it is different this time. There are a few things that are driving that. One is timing. In terms of where the smallsat technology is now, we’re now seeing launches at a cadence we couldn’t have even imagined just a few years ago. The scale at which we’re able to deploy satellites and the amount of funding that is going into the space sector is phenomenal. 

It’s not just the amount of funding that’s going into particular companies. Jeff Bezos has said publicly that he’s planning to sell a billion dollars of Amazon stock every year to fund Amazon’s project Kuiperthe, which is a great example. That’s the kind of funding that most startups could only dream of. There’s a huge amount of focus on Starlink, but we’re still to see those business cases close. It’s one thing to get the constellation up in orbit, it’s another thing to be able to sell those services at a price point customers are willing to pay. 

We’re also seeing projections for huge increases in the demand for data going forward. From the new conversations around LEO we’re also expecting to see a huge influx in capacity and supply coming onto the market as well. Satellite operators are able to charge to realise that opportunity. I don’t think it’s a slam dunk, but I think we’re seeing a huge amount of progress from a number of different operators, which is very exciting.

To learn more about the state of the NewSpace industry, tune into Episode 19 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Inside Space Congestion Solutions

As the NewSpace industry grows, so does the amount of debris surrounding the planet. On The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined today by Siamak Hesar, the Co-Founder and CEO of Kayhan Space. Siamak has a PhD in aerospace engineering and extensive expertise in astrodynamic and operational flight dynamic fields. His company’s purpose is to create a next generation autonomous spaceflight capability with the mission of making space safer. We asked Siamak about how Kayhan Space is contributing to the challenges of space congestion and how that informed the creation of his company. Here’s what he said:

If you’re alluding to space congestion and space debris, it’s a very big problem. There are multiple aspects for me when we talk about solutions. To give you some context in terms of how the industry is growing – since the dawn of the space age, humanity as a whole has launched around 11,000 satellites into orbit. That has directly resulted in over a million pieces of debris and artificially generated micro meteorites. That’s made up of all the extra stuff that gets thrown out of satellites and collision debris. That is obviously a big problem, but we are not stopping there. 

One exciting aspect of this industry is that we are growing so fast. I have no issue with that growth, but we do need to be mindful of the fact that that growth needs to be accompanied by the right processes and capabilities to support it so that growth is done safely. In the next decade alone there are different estimates and forecasts which predict that we are going to send around 100,000 satellites into orbit. That’s 10 times more satellites in just one decade than everything that we have done in space so far. That creates a big challenge. 

There are different aspects of addressing this problem. The analogy that I always use is that when it comes to space traffic management, we are in the same boat as air traffic control, where initially there were midair collisions that resulted in people sitting down and thinking about the creation of a traffic control system. The reason that the air travel industry is at this scale right now is because back then we decided as a society that we needed regulations and processes that allowed the industry to scale safely. We are in the same situation right now in the space industry. 

In terms of Kayhan’s offering, we are a technology company, so our role is to provide technical solutions or technology that can help the industry scale safely. We do that by automating the processes that satellite operators can use to fly safely and coordinate with each other. 

To learn more about Siamak’s career and experiences, tune into Episode 18 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

WSBW Summary Blog

So, another fantastic WSBW Summit has been and gone and the neuco Executive Search team have finally been able to find the time to debrief on what was an incredible show. It was another sold-out event and there was a palpable buzz around the Westin with a huge number of topics taking centre stage at the summit, both on the panels and in the hallways and meeting rooms dotted around the venue.

We’ve summarised a few of the key talking points from the event below.

Direct to Device:

Unsurprisingly, direct to device solutions were the hot topic of discussion throughout the show. While it seems universally agreed by most in the industry that there certainly is a market, there seems to be little consensus on just how big that market will be and just how long it will take to realise the potential of these services.

Where’s the money?:

You will, I’m sure, have seen several announcements for funding rounds during the summit. However, something we heard from a few different people was that there seems to be a dwindling appetite for larger funding rounds that some of the more established start-ups need right now. As the NewSpace market begins to mature, and with substantial prior investments still awaiting a return on investment, investors are understandably becoming more cautious.

Starlink:

LEO connectivity has been a hot topic for a few years now but there was one provider that was spoken about more than any other and there didn’t seem to be many panels that didn’t touch on at least a brief discussion of Starlink. What is obvious is that the theme of the discussion has certainly shifted, there are no longer questions around the viability of such solutions and now much more of a focus on how other providers will differentiate their offering from Starlink in order to mop up the obvious demand.

GEO Still Has a Part to Play, Especially for Regional Operators:

While LEO certainly dominated discussions, it’s obvious that GEO is not dead yet. There were a number of regional operators all shunning LEO platforms in favour of GEO as the need for a lot of capacity in a small footprint means that it is still the platform of choice for them. A further show of support for the GEO market came with the announcement of an additional $28m in funding for Swissto12 to keep up with the demand for their HummingSat platform.

We’re already counting down the days until next year’s event, can’t wait to see you all there!

Investing in the European Space Market

The European space market has been growing over the past few years, leading to an increase in investments from a number of firms. On Episode 17 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Árisz Kecskés, who is the Business Development Manager at Remred and Investment Manager at Herius Capital, the latter of which is one of the very few space-focused venture capital firms investing in startups in the European Space ecosystem. Árisz shared his insights into the European space market, including the opportunities he sees for other investors in the sector. Read on to learn more!

Where would you recommend investing in the European space market? 

The valuation landscape in Western Europe is very different from how companies are valued in the Central Eastern European region. The trick is to find these ‘rough diamond’ companies and support them throughout their development stages. If you’re looking for early stage startups, there are a lot of good companies in the Central Eastern European region, whereas Western European countries are typically in further stages. 

What you see on the market is a different approach to the industry itself. Something that we’ve noticed is that  the Central Eastern European region was more research oriented, which is tied into the heritage of how the space industry has evolved in those countries. Their transition into the industrialised space was a bit more difficult, which is understandable. So it depends what you want to invest in, but there’s lots of great companies out there. 

What future opportunities do you see for the space sector across Europe?

It depends on how risk averse someone is. I would say that a key opportunity lies in the Earth Observation market, which is seeing a lot of growth. There is still a lot of growth that can be seen in some upstream markets such as debris, and the inordinate servicing market is something that we’re very closely monitoring too. They do pose a lot of risks, but we see a lot of initiatives and enabling technologies that make that segment very interesting to look at. I’m not sure if investing in these technologies is something that we would do as an early stage investor, but it’s definitely something that I see a lot of growth opportunities in.

To learn more about Árisz’s work and other aspects of the European Space Market, tune into the full episode of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Humanitarian Applications of Satellite Technology

On Episode 16 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to Anastasia Kuzmenko, the VP of Marketing & Communications at the IEC Telecom Group, about the cutting-edge technology that they are developing in the satellite space. She shared how their satellite technology can be applied to various verticals, including the maritime and humanitarian sectors. Read on to hear more!

What does the industry need to do to ensure that there is an increased focus on the success of humanitarian applications for satellite technology?

When it comes to use cases, increasingly specialised softwares and optimised applications would allow humanitarian missions to carry out their operations in the remote areas. Imagine a situation where we are in a remote settlement, where there is no bank infrastructure, no hospitals, etc. One of the latest use cases in the humanitarian industry was the launch of mobile units that could deliver services to those kinds of settlements on a certain schedule. This is where we need to think outside of the box and ask what else can be there? 

I can imagine specialised stations or applications which would help to bring more educational opportunities to those remote communities. We can even provide entertainment. A lot of social development or social integration happens through the arts. Being part of the wider culture, being able to see movies and documentaries – to be part of this social world in general – is exceptionally important. The humanitarian field in general should utilise the capacities of satellite telecommunication in order to power different digital applications and bring those skills to the remote areas.

What do you think we can do to focus the technology and help close this divide? 

We definitely need to look at satellite solutions as systems. The fact that we have LEO networks which provide high speed and low latency is very important. However, it’s not enough to deliver impactful solutions on the ground. The humanitarian solutions represent a complex architecture, where you would have the terminal, the backup, and then a range of services catered to a specific need. 

When we are out in the wild with those remote communities, we can’t just rely on one terminal to deliver the connectivity and services we need. We have to  consider the fact that any satellite telecommunication is vulnerable to external factors, whether it’s a weather condition, geographical landscape or other obstacles. In order for those applications on the ground to run continuously, we need to have a system where there will be a main link and a backup. We need continuous connectivity. But what do we do with this connectivity? This is where it’s important to have network management tools which will allow us to control the quality of the network and make sure it’s utilised in the most efficient way. 

Next we should consider the value added services. How do we want to filter this network? How do we want to optimise the bandwidth of this work network? How do we distribute these capacities? Solutions such as Expand are equipped by a network management system on a voucher capacity, which means that if you set up this kind of system in the humanitarian camp we could issue individual vouchers to the inhabitants. The same way we distribute food, we can distribute connectivity. 

What really matters when it comes to satellite technologies within the humanitarian field is to have a clear understanding, not just of the capacity, but also of the functionality or the operator. It’s about delivering complex solutions that are specifically designed to solve a specific issue. It will equip all the  necessary tools to run smoothly and ensure operational continuity throughout the exploitation.

To learn more about using satellite technology for humanitarian purposes, tune into Episode 16 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Applying Satellite Imagery to Different Markets  

With the rise of on-satellite data processing technology, satellite imagery is becoming increasingly accessible. On Episode 15 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Jakub Dziwisz, CEO and founder of Orbify, to talk about Orbify’s platform and the marketplace for Earth intelligence applications. Jakub’s background is in software engineering, giving him some great perspectives into the application of satellite imagery, which he shared with us on the podcast. 

“In general, there is a great potential across a variety of vertical threads. Forestry management has some untapped potential. Similarly, when it comes to farming and marine monitoring there is a huge amount of work that could be done. Satellites can also be used to create smart cities and monitor air quality. There are five satellites collecting a lot of useful information about air pollution and air quality at present. 

To give you an example, last October I was in San Francisco attending the Geo for Good Conference by Google, and I talked to the person who worked for Copenhagen municipalities on air quality analysis. In Copenhagen they realised that 10% of citizens are dying due to diseases caused by poor air quality, and Copenhagen isn’t one of the most polluted cities. They decided to do something about it to try to revitalise the city, and based on an analysis that was made, they found that certain areas of the city are more polluted. So, they put domes in their parks so that people could spend time outside under those and be shielded from poor air quality. They did the same for bus stops to help people inhale less pollution. At the same time they built playgrounds in cleaner areas to encourage people to congregate there and spend more time in the clean air spots. 

That’s a great example of how municipalities and local governments can take advantage of Earth observation to revitalise their city. The downside of the story is that building that analysis took them two months with RBI, whereas that’s something you can do in two hours with current technology. More local governments could take a look at what’s happened in Copenhagen and take actions too.

There is a lot of space for improving how we use data to react to crisis situations and emergency responses. It’s already starting to happen, but I think that there is a lot more scope for development. To go back to the forest monitoring vertical, we can do much more if we build solutions that can be used by citizens to understand what is happening in the environment around them. 

I can give you an example from my neighbourhood. I’m living in a relatively green area of Krakow, where one local businessman bought a parcel of land and started doing some weird transformation. He cut all the trees down and brought in some heavy machinery to remove mounds that were over there. He’s devastating the terrain. Now no one is able to stop him. If we gave these observation tools to normal people we could see that something unwelcome is happening in the neighbourhood and stop it before it goes too far. Normal people are just trying to understand what’s happening around them.”

To learn more about what’s happening in the Earth observation sector, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Exploring Space as a Service 

With the improvement of on-satellite technology there has been a surge of interest in hosting ‘space as a service’ business models. On Episode 14 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Dennis Silin, who is the CEO and Founder of Exodus Orbitals. He established Exodus Orbitals in 2019 as a ‘satellite as a service’ space startup based in Toronto. Here are Dennis’s insights into the ‘space as a service’ business model:

The primary direction of the ‘space as a service’ business models is making satellite capabilities more available by democratising access to them. End users want fast, cheap and effective satellites, with easy access to a digital service like storage or cloud computing. They also want minimal hassle with the maximum amount of use for the least amount of money. For existing satellite companies, even NewSpace ones, it doesn’t make sense to offer something that will cut into their own profits. They’re looking for ways to create those ‘as a service’ platforms while increasing their revenue, not decreasing them. 

There’s a conflict between what the customer wants and what the vendor or satellite operator wants. At the same time, the whole nature of ‘as a service’ is making those services cheaper, more accessible, and costing less than the alternative. In my opinion, the incumbents are not going to solve this problem, even if they do know how to solve it. Why would they do something that will disrupt their own business model? Why would companies like Planet Inspire offer their satellites for a low cost if they make more money by just selling data from them? 

As a new company, Exodus has nothing to lose and everything to gain from this model. We’re doing something that’s not really been executed yet, giving users a fast, cheap and efficient way of accessing space, mirroring the development of the IT industry. If you remember the history from the 1960s, there were one or two big companies offering mainframes which were so expensive you couldn’t even buy them, you could only lease them from IBM. It would cost you a lot of money per month just to use the computer, but in the ‘70s and ‘80s, personal minicomputers appeared and offered what businesses needed at a lower cost. Now there is a computer in every pocket. That’s what I want to build in the satellite industry; I want every person on earth to have their own personalised virtual satellite. 

It won’t happen immediately, we’re going to start with a b2b model. There is a company that has a few houses for rent and they want the satellite specifically tailored to track the state of the roofs with their own data feed. That type of customised mission is what we are trying to enable on our platform. We’re building a pipeline for these missions through software apps that you can use to deploy directly on the satellites. Earth observation satellites can be used in this manner, tailored to your specific, customised, local application. It’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to make it affordable for small or medium businesses around the world. That’s our vision. 

To learn more about the work that Dennis and Exodus Orbital are doing, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Creating a Career in the NewSpace industry

In the last few years, we’ve seen a big shift away from data processing on the ground, to having a much more advanced computing and processing power in orbit. Some people are saying that we’re entering the era of smart satellites and spacecraft. On Episode 13 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were joined by Iulia Marushchak, the Head of Business Development at KP Labs, to discuss that claim. KP Labs are a Polish NewSpace company who aim to accelerate space exploration by advancing autonomous spacecraft operation using artificial intelligence and onboard heating and processing systems. Iulia’s career has given her valuable insights into the changes that onboard processing will bring to the industry, which she shared with us here:

I will take a step back to the start of where this onboard data processing idea is coming from, because the subject has gotten quite popular in the last few years. A lot of people are wondering why this is happening from outside the NewSpace sector. I would start in the Earth Observation sector. The amount of the data that is generated in the Earth Observation sector is tremendous. We have more than 1000 satellites circling the Earth, and there are more and more constellations coming from the commercial sector too. The amount of data that needs to be sent, stored and protected before it comes to the final customer in the form of the application or a service that they’re using is huge. There is a long wait, because this data is coming in raw to the data centres. This data is often very complicated, which is made worse by the very fast development of sensor resolution and frequency. 

One hyperspectral image is about two gigabytes. It would take around seven minutes for the transfer of one picture, which wouldn’t give us much information. The amount of data we receive allows us to extract a lot of necessary data, but the typical length of a communication session is from 5 to 10 minutes. That’s where the speed of data analysis becomes a problem. People started looking for solutions to this problem, and that’s when they figured, why should we send all the images to the earth when we can process them in space?

In addition, when a camera takes a picture, quite often, it takes multiple shots. Some of them are cloudy, some of them have some interference, and it ends up with us having tons of pictures which are not relevant for us. That creates a lot of issues on the ground. In addition, if we talk about the real time services, first you have to segment these pictures, pre process them and extract what you can use. Only then could you create what you need from the images. The idea of processing data onboard the satellite is basically a solution to limit the data that comes from the satellites to the ground. 

For crisis management, this is extremely important. If we have wildfire detection or flood detection systems and things like that, these services can change and save lives. We’re faced with a lot of challenges to make this happen, because you need powerful data processing units on board, and at the site at the same time, there are a lot of new missions coming. Now I think we could say that we have found some solutions to the problem. 

When it comes to onboard data processing, there is also telemetry data. That’s important because it allows us to detect anomalies on board of the satellite and react quickly, taking measures to lower the risk, so that the mission will be successful. For the NewSpace sector that’s quite important because missions are developing fast, and they need solutions that allow them to manage the mission on board. At KP Labs we’re creating an ecosystem of products that would answer both of those needs. We’re building onboard data processing and supporting the operations of the satellite. We call this ecosystem the Smart Mission Ecosystem, and it consists of both smart satellites and smart payloads. 

To learn more about the Satellite & NewSpace industry, tune into our podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Inside ReOrbit’s On-Satellite Systems

On-satellite software has become a hot topic over recent weeks. On Episode 12 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to Sethu Suvanam, CEO of ReOrbit, about how his company is creating potential through their new platform. Sethu moved into the satellite industry after finishing his PhD in information and communication technology, and he has since gone on to found ReOrbit, the satellite company that’s disrupting the industry with their reusable, autonomous and software-defined micro satellite platform. 

What can we expect to see from ReOrbit next? 

If you look at the space industry today, the core element is actually data. That’s what is generating revenues. If you go to any operator, they are actually more worried about the satellite in itself, which shouldn’t be the case. On the ground, if you look at how things are working with cell phones, nobody’s worried about the hardware equipment, they’re talking about ‘How much should I charge for megabits?’. Data is what we should all be considering. We’re now planning to build infrastructures that optimise the data flows in space so that the operators can just think about the fastest way of getting the data. We are envisioning our future view as very similar to Cisco and how they brought about a connectivity revolution for the computer industry. We want to bring a similar connectivity revolution to the satellite industry.

The focus on software within the satellite and space industries has a lot of potential. How do you think a software-first approach will create potential?

Typically, a Space Systems Engineer will design the hardware first, then think about how they can write the software. The moment the machine changes though, the requirements are not the same. That’s why space missions have at least 30% NRA. 

We’re developing the software first. Going software-first opens up your market, because you can then buy best in class hardware. It also enables us to start developing applications and functionalities onboard the satellite. If you want to have those architectures, then you need to get out of this hardware-first approach and put software at the centre. At the end of the day, it’s all about optimising the data flows and data routing, which is all done on the software, not the hardware. Going software-first also significantly cuts costs.

What are ReOrbit’s plans for the next 12-24 months?

At the end of the day, the crux of any company should be to generate revenues. That’s what we’re focused on; to keep increasing our revenues and profitability. We’re also building a sustainable company. It’s not sustainable in the clean air, clean energy sense, it’s more like creating a long-lasting company where generations of people can work. We are definitely growing and scaling up our team. We are now onboarding some more superstars of space. We’ve been quite successful in closing big contracts in the last couple of years, and now we are reaching a stage where we will start delivering on those. This fall it will be critical for us to deliver what we promised on time and at the cost we quoted. 

To learn more about the work that Sethu and ReOrbit are doing, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here.

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Commercialising the European Launcher Market

The European launch market has seen a recent boom, thanks to increasingly accessible resources. To unpack this phenomenon, we spoke to Jörn Spurmann on Episode 11 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast. Jörn is the CCO and co-founder of Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA), a NewSpace launcher business that provides flexible and low-cost access to space through their launch system RFA ONE. He shared his perspectives as one of the leading experts in the European launch market. 

What are your thoughts on the commercialization of the European launcher market?

I think we could do far more things in space if we spent budgets more efficiently. If we look at the US Navy a couple of years ago, when they couldn’t fly anything into space anymore, they realised they couldn’t continue developing these things themselves, so they started commercial competitions to buy services. That’s something we should do in Europe. If the European Space Agency defined what they needed in terms of service, they could invite tenders and see what happens. If no one replies, they can do it themselves, but what if we could make collaboration happen? 

We’re at a great point in the space transportation industry in Europe. There are a number of companies that are well financed and could produce commercial alternatives to the current industry monopolies. These companies have the competence to launch systems and infrastructures, even if it’s only on a small scale. That is what the government institutions will leverage to destroy the monopolies that we currently have on the launch market in Europe. This will create commercial competition around launch system developments. 

There’s a lot of speculation about how investments in Europe are going to change. Government bodies might be able to get away with spending less money and getting the rest privately funded.. That gives them a larger budget to spend on useful things, right? They should invest in whichever service will deliver connectivity or observation to the public, and use those models to understand climate change and how to influence it for the better. These are the things they should be working on, along with scientific exploration of the solar system or human spaceflight. Having commercial competition in the launch market will significantly advance those efforts. 

Why do you think it has taken the commercial world so long to think that the launcher market is one that they should be active in?

It comes from those monopolies. Every continent has their own institutional agencies or monopolies that are fed money by the system, so there’s typically very little incentive to compete at a cheaper rate. When there’s no competition, companies can make it as expensive as possible to maximise their own revenues. That’s the wrong motivation. Satellites becoming smaller inspired small launch systems, which are easier to develop. That’s why the private finance industry actually put money into our sector, because it’s a shrinking product and a growing market that’s easy to disrupt. 

Why do you think we’ve got a huge number of companies looking to break into the launcher market at the same time?

Launches have become simpler. The biggest difference lies in going from a plan on PowerPoint to building hardware and having successful traction on test milestones. Players in the industry are being differentiated by their ability to design a launch system, get it to the testing stage, and get stuff up in the air. A lot of university students are exploring rocketry, specifically with paraffin, which is inherently safe. That’s great because students can do practical lessons, and we benefit a lot from the ideas they have. 3D printing also makes manufacturing much simpler. This combination of technologies and education systems makes it possible to do small launch systems with only a few people, which is changing how the industry is perceived. 

What do you think is the most important development to make sure that we have a successful launcher market here in Europe? 

It’s not so much a technical development but more of a change in governance that we need. We also need to keep up with our own competition. In Germany, there is a competitor 100 kilometres away from us. I’m totally convinced that it motivates us to outperform them everyday, because we can feel how close we are. Competition is the secret ingredient to having great products and a great business. We need to create all classes of launch systems in Europe if we want to catch up with the US, because they are more advanced in the vehicle agenda. If we want to get in on this boom in the space industry, we have to focus on competing with each other in Europe as well.

To hear more about the state of the launch market in Europe, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Communicating The Satellite & NewSpace Industry to Outsiders

On Episode 7 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to marketing and communications expert Dave Hebert. With an impressive career across the communications industry, Dave moved into the space sector in 2016 and is now the Vice President for Global Marketing and Communications at Astroscale. Having worked with companies such as MITRE and The Aerospace Corporation, Dave’s insights on communicating the space industry to the world are at the forefront of the conversation. 

How do people currently see the Space industry?

There is a contradiction in the public perception of space. On one hand it’s an unending source of inspiration, creativity and wonder, and it’s a permanent fixture in the pop culture zeitgeist. Franchises like Star Wars and Marvel that are in many ways space-based generate interest around the world and billions of dollars in revenue. That actually speaks to the problem that the industry faces, which is that space remains in that fantasy realm for so many people. 

On the other hand, space is seen as an ivory tower that is meant for a select few, not for everyone. It’s become inaccessible and expensive – a playground for billionaires. The public opinion surveys about civil space programmes often reveal that people are very excited about civil space and exploration, but when they see the price tag, they baulk at it. When you look at wider civil spending, that number is actually relatively small, but that’s the tension of the economy. High profile celebrities and heads of state are vilified for spending money, effort and attention up in space when we have so many issues down on Earth. The world just doesn’t get it. We need to continue having that conversation and help the world understand how space can serve as a vehicle for improving quality of life on Earth.

What do you think is one of the most important challenges that the industry needs to overcome to guarantee its future relevance in the minds of the people outside of it?

The industry is facing consolidation. There’s been so much growth in the space sector, but it’s not realistic to expect that growth to be evenly distributed across the industry. Value creation, data products and services that connect with other sectors will help us build relationships. That’s an important direction for the space industry to take. What are other sectors’ aspirations? What are their pain points? What can space do to help with those things? Terrestrial industries are fundamental to quality of life, so let’s ask ourselves ‘What is it they’re trying to do? Is there any way that we can make it easier for them to do that or overcome the obstacles they face in doing it?’ We’ve defined the end user in the space sector as the companies who buy our data, but there are people two or three steps down that ladder who have no idea what space could do for them, even though they rely on it. We need to start focusing on those people instead.

How do you think we can address the disparity between people’s perception of our industry and the reality of what we do?

It’s all about bringing people into the sector. The first question that space businesses and organisations need to ask themselves when they’re recruiting is, ‘Does this position have to be filled by somebody who’s already in the space sector?’ There are some roles where the answer is a very quick, immediate, yes, but the question should always be asked in a very earnest way. If you can’t answer yes, you have to say, ‘Okay, well where do we never show up?’ Identify those communities and say, ‘Hey, we need people like you, are you aware that a job in the space sector might be an opportunity for you?’ We should be inviting people in. 

We also need to be equipping our recruiters to diversify their networks. Consider questions like ‘How are you reaching out? Are you engaging with universities that represent an excellence in skill sets that are not related to the usual circles you run in? Are you approaching diverse candidates that you don’t normally pursue? Are you engaging professional societies that are not in the space sector?’ The burden is on us to go outside of our comfort zone and find underrepresented communities and say, ‘We need people like you’.

To find out more about creating diversity in the  sector, tune into The Satellite and NewSpace Matters Podcast here. 

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Future of GEO in the Space Industry

As investment patterns have shifted through the Satellite & NewSpace industry, some people have called GEO satellite’s relevance into question. On Episode 10 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to Gregg Daffner, the CEO of GapSat, about the role of GEO satellites and how that can continue. Gregg is a well-known face in the industry who previously co-founded Asia Broadcast Satellite, before creating an innovative startup in a satellite industry that leases in-orbit satellites to satellite operators. Usually, this is until they can build their own custom satellite, but also provide additional capacity when internal crises occur. Here’s what Gregg told us about the future of GEO:

Non-geostationary satellites are the hot item of the moment. There’s no question that it’s on everyone’s minds. It’s sexy. It’s responsible for generating an enormous amount of interest in our industry. Elon Musk has almost single handedly rekindled excitement for people who are considering a career in space, communications, satellites and so forth. It’s one of the best things that’s happened in well over a decade. Bringing new blood and new interest into the industry is becoming a household discussion topic, and it’s really refreshing; it portends a bright future. I think that a lot of that is hype, though. Hype has a positive effect, but it’s also misled a lot of people as to what the future is going to look like. If you’re realistic, the truth is that for a substantial number of services, geostationary provision and infrastructure is still a much more cost effective way of delivering bits. 

LEO is specifically good for low latency uses and for covering areas that are out of  geostationary satellites’ reach. The furthest northern and southern latitudes, especially the poles, only have patchy service from GEO, but that’s not an issue for LEO and MEO satellites. If you’re a high speed trader on the stock market, there’s no question that you want to be doing something that’s the shortest fibre length and or the shortest stop to a satellite. LEO and MEO can provide that, but for a significant percentage of all the communication that is carried by satellite, that is not the principal driver. LEO is important geographically, and for certain kinds of services, and maybe for supercomputers that can’t have those delays, but for most things it’s a non-issue. 

When it comes to cost efficiency, most users don’t need low latency, but they do need low costs. There are two factors in costing, which is antennas and infrastructure. Antennas are much more expensive, because they have to track speed and movement if you’re doing physical tracking, mechanical steering, etc, and that’s expensive. That’s where having GEO satellites is better. You only need three satellites and three orbital locations to cover the entire world (with the exception of the poles), with overlapping coverage. If you have three of them placed equidistantly around the globe, you can cover the entire Earth, with most locations capable of seeing two satellites. That gives you diversity routing, and removes issues of looking angles, and a blockage of buildings, mountains, trees, etc. To do the same thing with LEO, you need hundreds, maybe even thousands, of satellites, because they’re so close to the Earth. 

The bottom line is that the infrastructure costs of building, launching, controlling and replacing all of those satellites is really high. That’s before you’ve even factored in the costs of potential pollution in space and the potential for unintended consequences like collisions.  From what I can tell, between the additional costs for building, launching and operating a non-GEO system versus a GEO one, the costs are a magnitude greater for less capacity. If you’re looking at broadband, you’re going to be able to get a whole lot more stuff through a geostationary satellite than you can on smaller, lower-orbit satellites. The production of ground equipment like mobile phones and tracking antennas will probably never be as inexpensive as a GEO, because the LEO or MEO antenna would be able to communicate with a GEO satellite as well. 

Satellite has the potential to provide communications where there is no terrestrial alternative. The three areas where that takes place are aeronautical, maritime and remote or rural areas. Anywhere there’s no cables is an area for satellites to step in. In the old days, communication satellites were used primarily for voice communication, and they were placed in the middle of oceans to connect the continents. As cables have been run, people have stopped focussing there for satellites. What was once the ideal location for them has shifted over to land masses, and less over water masses, because that’s where people are communicating and where broadcasters are distributing their signals. 

When you’re talking about aeronautical and maritime, you’re not talking about where people are living and acting, but where they’re travelling. Suddenly, something which was a quaint idea has become a hot idea for the current day. In every part of our lives, the amount of broadband capacity we need access to is increasing, and the same is true for airlines and ships. When you position satellites mid-ocean, roughly 120 degrees apart, those three satellites have ideal coverage for both of those services, while also being able to reach the landmasses on the edges of those waters. Looking to the future, GEO isn’t going anywhere. 

To hear more about Gregg’s work at GapSat and his take on the wider Satellite & NewSpace industry, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Importance of Sustainability in Space

Sustainability is important in industries across the world, and above it. On Episode 9 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to Luc Piguet, CEO and co-founder of ClearSpace. The company was created to respond to concerns about an increasingly congested space environment. ClearSpace revolutionise how space missions are conducted, and provide institutions and commercial operators with support-free services in orbit, and capture and deorbit obsolete objects threatening space operations. He spoke to us about the importance of their missions and how the industry can move forwards in tackling sustainability. 

Why do you think it’s so important for companies to promote a sustainable space economy?

We have four kids, and my wife realised some time ago that they were seeing problems everywhere. Some of them are teenagers, and they’re asking ‘Why should I study every day when the Earth’s a mess?’ There’s pollution, global warming, plastics in the oceans, wars, pandemics… and it’s only getting worse. We realised that if one generation can make a difference and solve those problems, it’s ours. We were just getting the wrong messages to our kids. We decided that from now on the message is going to be ‘the future’s bright’. We have all the tools to solve those problems, or if we don’t have all of them, we’ll get them. That’s the mindset that we put behind what we do here, and that’s what motivates us.

We’re tackling that depressing narrative by improving sustainability in space. You can model the amount of debris up there in terms of sources of debris and sinks of debris. Sources are all the platforms we send up, so all the rocket bodies and satellites that are sources of fragments, from which smaller debris will naturally multiply in the sinks. You have to consider atmospheric drag when you’re designing and testing the things you’re launching, and depending on the altitude you’ve got to add more or less depending on the level of orbit. It’s obvious that we need to create artificial sinks and stabilise the environment, because when we add more stuff into an environment it’s getting rapidly congested, that is the definition of instability. 

That’s what drove us to get the company started. It’s been years of work looking at what should be done, and figuring out how it can be done. What is the most pragmatic way forward? We don’t care what the solution is, we don’t care if it’s deorbiting. The goal is finding the right solution for it, and working on that. Once we’d built the company and seen traction building, the question for us was how to keep it going. What does it mean to make this environment sustainable? It’s not just removing debris, it’s more than that. It’s any type of service where you reduce, recycle, reuse. A lot of services create a more sustainable environment, but also produce tangible, immediate value for the operators. That’s the sweet spot we want to get started from. 

In a lot of sectors you can do things more cheaply by polluting more. It’s obvious that nobody wants to live in a dump, so one of the reasons that sustainability has become such a big topic is because the next generation doesn’t want to live with what we leave behind. They want to live in a world that is sustainable. That is something that’s understood by investors, banks and all the other actors around the industry. The downside of not promoting sustainability is much bigger than the cost of actually solving it. You can make a calculation between the cost of prevention and cost of recovery. If you prevent it, you pay $1, and if you recover it, the cost is $17. That’s a real incentive for doing it. The problem is, you have to do the prevention before the catastrophe happens, so it looks like you’re going to spend $1 now for something that isn’t happening. In the space industry though, catastrophe is predictable. You can statistically calculate what’s going to happen. It’s really important to give this level of clarity to where we’re going to be in a few years from now if we don’t take sustainability seriously. It’s just logical. 

How are you improving sustainability in your current projects?

We’re working on a life extension mission. In ClearSpace One, the objective was to do in-orbit servicing and space debris removal. It’s in the interest of any operator in the geostationary ring, to have servicing in orbit. There’s obviously short term needs that have a limited timeframe, but once the capability is built, there’s so many other things that can be done. The capacity of intervention is a normal thing to have in any industry. We’re building the future with the next phase of the space industry. We were convinced from the start that the only way to create a good product is to do it with your customers. We knew that something needed to be done about space debris, but we didn’t want it to be anything that the operators wouldn’t want to buy. Very early on, we started talking with all the operators we could as soon as possible, and maintained a great relationship with them. That gave us a perspective on what their challenges and concerns are. Where are the opportunities for our service to improve their lives? You have to do something that makes sense and naturally fits into the industry.

To find out more about sustainability in the space industry, tune into Episode 9 of The Satellite & NewSpace Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Achieving the Future of Satellite Communications

On Episode 8 of the Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined by Ronald van der Breggen, the CCO at Rivada Space Networks. Ronald is a well known face in the satellite industry, and has been involved in a number of exciting projects and businesses over his career. He is also a key commentator on the state of the industry, and regularly shares his fascinating insights with his audiences. 

Ronald told us about the challenges facing the future of satellite communications and how we can work together as an industry to overcome them. 

What do you see as the most important challenge for the future of the industry?

We need to keep talent coming in, and we need to focus on getting investment. Starlink is another thing that scares me. The service was perfect for the first users, but now that things are starting to fill up people are seeing things being dropped, performance is going down and they’re nowhere near the number of subscribers they need to reach the targets that they were projecting a couple of years ago. That stuff scares me, because we need them to be successful. We need them to thrive so that people don’t start to shy away from it or think ‘this whole space thing was a bust’. If they do that, everybody in this industry is going to have a really hard time. 

Space is a fantastic industry with an enormous potential. Many of the problems that we see in the world today rely on large networks that reach every location on Earth, and can be solved using satellite infrastructure. We need to figure out how to translate that into our business cases, and establish what is already achievable. Our leaders have to keep the company floating, attract the right talent and get them enough money to keep satellite production going. We need to succeed together, because if we don’t, we risk everyone failing. 

Where do we need to make improvements in order to achieve that future?

Collectively as an industry, we need to find a better way to position ourselves in the larger data communication market. When we talk about satellite pricing, there still is this notion that we’ve got a lot of capacity and the demand is smaller. That means that there’s pressure for the price to go down. That’s a problem, because we need to keep investments up if we’re going to advance. 

Companies need to find a balance between using expensive, high-speed and secure connections to do the best for their business while keeping their costs down. It’s up to us to offer those solutions. How about sending part of your data over a constellation in space, that allows you to go from your research centre to headquarters without having to worry about anybody tampering with the data, simply because they don’t have access to it? People will want it because it saves a lot of money. 

You don’t need to use satellite tech for everything. Physical infrastructures are perfectly capable of hosting mundane tasks like downloading something from the internet, but if somebody wants to send the latest research findings to headquarters, then you should send it through a secure satellite infrastructure. People are more than happy to pay a premium for that security. 

It’s all about finding a niche where you can make a difference. People have said that I’m limiting myself to the business segment, but there’s more money there when you address people’s needs and problems, because that’s what they’re willing to pay for. It might be a niche in terms of the applications, but it’s a huge market in terms of the number of companies that are interested in it. 

What we need to do as an industry is pay more attention to the larger ecosystem. There are serious problems out there that people need real solutions for, and for some of them satellite systems are much better equipped to handle them than terrestrial systems. It’s rampant. The applications are there for gaming, high frequency trading, etc, we just need to find a way to meet those needs and communicate why we’re the best ones to do it. That would help our industry keep growing collectively.

To hear more about how the satellite industry is developing, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

How New Companies Can Compete With Legacy Businesses

On Episode 6 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined by Emile de Rijk, the CEO and co-founder of SWISSto12. Emile has successfully made the transition from academia to startup co-founder by taking his PhD in physics and applying it to the real world. They use patented 3D printing technology to create a range of RF products and systems, including a new HummingSat range. In this bite-sized blog we dive into Emile’s experiences of disrupting the Satellite & NewSpace industry as a small business, and tap into his expertise as a leader in our sector. Read on to hear his insights.

Your growing business is in an exciting phase of development. How do you keep growing?

We started small with an initial product in technology focus, but we’ve always been able to adapt to the market and the voice of the customer. There are always ideas and challenges to inspire us. In that respect we’ve moved from building single waveguides to full satellites. That gives away the DNA of the company, which is to always be ambitious, look at the next big problem that we can solve and then go do it pragmatically without debating it for ages. That creates an exciting working environment that enables us to take initiative and go one step further in solving complex problems and developing exciting products.

There are a number of small businesses trying to compete within the satellite industry, which is saturated with legacy businesses who have been around for a long time and have been successful. There is an ecosystem of smaller businesses like yourself trying to break into that space. Why do you think the satellite industry is like that?

The satellite industry has a huge entry barrier. If you sell a satellite, it’s not like you can send someone up there to repair it. The consequences of failure are huge and extremely expensive. You have to develop products that are proven and reliable, and that someone can trust with an investment. That’s the major entry barrier. To overcome that you just need to accumulate a lot of knowledge, partner up with the right companies and suppliers and build a product that will fulfil the mission. The nature of that technical difficulty is such that it makes it very difficult for newcomers to actually come in. 

It’s possible if you’re patient and thorough and you work hard, which is what we’ve done so far. It’s a very exciting business to get into, because coming up with great products that are engineered correctly and fulfil the needs of the customer is highly rewarded by the industry. 

The other way to get into this market is to not compete with the incumbents. Why? Because the incumbents are there for a reason. They have launch experience and they’ve optimised their products for decades. They have a great offering. Our strategy has never been to compete in that market, but rather to find new markets that are not addressed, where we can create a different product that is complementary to what the big incumbent players propose. 

On top of that, our way to get from a radiofrequency product manufacturer to a satellite manufacturer has been to team up with players and suppliers and reuse satellite subsystems that are not worth reinventing. We are really innovating around payload and RF technology, which is our focus. Our innovation is in developing a smaller spacecraft that fulfils different types of missions. We work with heritage and legacy suppliers and partners to procure all the subsystems that benefit from heritage and just need to be integrated differently into a smaller spacecraft to make it a success. It’s a very collaborative strategy within the Satellite ecosystem to build this new success around smaller geo satellite missions.

All in all, the trick to successfully entering the industry is to use it to your advantage by creating a space for yourself and working alongside those bigger legacy companies instead of against them. 

To hear more about Emile’s fascinating work in the Satellite & NewSpace industry, tune into the full episode of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Space in the Future

We recently sat down with Laurynas Mačiulis on The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast, where we talked about the future of the NewSpace industry. Laurynas is best known for launching Lithuania’s first satellite, which sparked the NewSpace company NanoAvionics. Today, NanoAvionics is one of the largest small satellite mission integrators in the world. But Laurynas Mačiulis didn’t stop there. In 2019 he helped co-found Astrolight, an advanced laser communication system for space, where he remains the CEO. With those credentials it’s easy to see why his thoughts on the future of space are so interesting!

What is the future for space?

There are always people who are pessimistic about investing anything in space, who think they should just make life better on Earth. We don’t need to put in a contradiction, we can do two things together. We can progress in space without sacrificing life on Earth or taking away from progress on Earth. It’s really complimentary. 

The philosophical question of ‘What is our future in space?’, even without the worry that something bad would happen here, is always really interesting. Our destiny as a species is actually to go further and explore. We don’t need to stop on Earth, we need to go further. I think that’s our destiny. Space transportation is probably the technology that will have to pave the way for this ability. Exploring whether life exists on other planets is a fascinating question that needs to be answered. 

When the space shuttle transportation technology reaches a level where it is affordable, space travel, space tourism, asteroid mining, building hotels in space, and maybe some remote colonies in other space stations and other planets is going to happen. When that happens, the other stepping stone will also be how to communicate, because we would need to be in touch. Information is something that connects us. Laser communication will play an important role there to actually enable that. 

Do you think people living in space is something that’ll happen in our lifetime?

I definitely think that we would have more of a presence in space. It’s my dream to see people landing on Mars. That would be a very important milestone in our evolution as a species. Even such simple things like giving ordinary people the chance to see from space would be a fantastic achievement, because I would compare it with the moments in our history where part of our civilization went to the other lands. There were some bad things that happened with that, but there were also a lot of good things where new ideas emerged. We could also see some very interesting developments from societies living in space and maybe coming up with better ways to organise society. The fragile connection that we have between space and earth is the transformational feeling that astronauts are always talking when they see Earth. Imagine if everybody could feel that, I think that could change our whole attitude to life. Fundamentally, I’m quite optimistic about space travel. It’s not just for a million years’ time, it’s definitely the goal for my lifetime.

To hear more about the work that Laurynas is doing to advance the NewSpace industry, tune into the full episode of The Satellite & NewSpace Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

What are the issues facing “connecting the unconnected” in the African continent?

On Episode 1 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were thrilled to welcome Scott Mumford, CEO of Liquid Telecom Satellite Services, and now CCO of Liquid Dataport. Scott has a very impressive 25 years of experience in the industry, starting as an Engineer through to C-Suite.  

We unpacked so many interesting topics in this episode, our favourite highlight is below! 

What do you think is the key to helping those without connectivity get connected? 

There are a number of factors, so I wish there was just one answer, because then it would be easy to deliver. The technology gap is, is one that we need to solve, for sure.  

If you look across the African continent, generally, there are hundreds of millions of people without access to the internet. Internet penetration rates across the continent are around sort of 34%, which is the lowest globally. Some of that comes from the sheer size of the continent.  

I think a lot of a lot of people see Africa on a map and go, “yeah, it’s relatively big”, but, the maps are quite deceptive – it’s vast. I’m sure we’ve all seen those maps, where you can see the US and India and China and Europe and everything all sort of fitting within the African continent from a landmass perspective.  

The second element of that is really where technology is gone. If you look at you, me, and everybody else, everything really has moved towards applications and handset-based usage. Banking, shopping, travel, you name it, are all pretty much done from a handheld device these days.  

And, that really hasn’t spread into the African continent, partly from a cost perspective. It’s a bit of a vicious circle, there’s no network because there are no handsets, and there are no handsets because there’s no network.  

So, where do you go first? But I also think, you know, a lot of those, a lot of countries around Africa are still very cash-based economies as well,  because of the lack of connectivity and devices, the move to a digital banking and finance sort of architecture hasn’t taken hold as yet, either.  Dealing with a number of currencies in physical cash is another complication, that that has to be overcome.  

It’s a multifaceted problem that isn’t just on the communications industry, or the satellite industry. It’s the banking sector, the manufacturers, it’s a big, big melting pot that everybody needs to put into.  

There’s a lot of progress going on there and satellite to sort of bringing it back, that’s playing a massive role in the sense that we’re seeing huge deployments of visa terminals and satellite terminals and satellite connectivity across the continent.  

To listen to the full episode, click here.  

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Space Tech Expo Europe – Day 3

The third and final day is here and that can only mean one thing – scrambling for swag. Beyond the frantic grabbing of goods, there was a wonderful murmur of meetings, conference talks, and general excitement about the success of Space Tech Expo 2022. 

We were delighted to see the continued levels of attendees right from the start of the day until the very last moments, soaking up every minute of Space Tech Expo possible. Easy to spot were the sore-headed attendees of the Telespazio after-party last night walking the halls with glossy eyes. After all, even though it’s the final day, the show must go on.

And go on it has! It’s been delightful to see the continued enthusiasm and high levels of attendees today. We’ve seen everything from robots roaming to holograms to satellite demos and a vast array of space tech in action. 

Today’s conference talk highlights include a great discussion on the ever-looming issue of space traffic and collision management. It was fantastic to see some of the best minds in the industry coming together to tackle what will prove to be a massive obstacle for the issue in the coming years with the rise of mega-constellations. This was followed by what was a great way to finish an incredible array of talks from the three conferences – the innovation spotlight presentations.

Now, sitting in Bremen airport reminiscing about the great event that Space Tech Expo 2022 truly was, I can’t wait to see what next year has to offer! 

Today, Bremen really feels like the “City of Space”. 

Space Tech Expo Europe – Day 2

While outside the conference centre it might be cold, grey and raining, but you’d never know it from the buzz of excitement inside. 

Day 2 promised another packed day of meetings with existing clients, new companies and a whole host of fascinating talks on a variety of topics. The most important being not 1 but 2 “Women in Space” panels, which, if you’ve ever listened to our podcast “Satellite and NewSpace Matters”, you’ll know is a topic that sits close to our hearts. It’s obvious the industry has made great strides in addressing the imbalance, walking around the convention centre it’s clear there is a lot more work to be done! 

Walking around today it’s so obvious that day 2 is so much busier than day 1, which itself was still busy. Every booth is packed, all the B2B meeting tables are constantly booked up and meetings are spilling out into the foyers and any available floor space people can find. Hopefully, this bodes well for the future of the industry and I am sure we will see a large number of post-show announcements and partnerships in the days to follow. 

If you are here tomorrow, I would suggest heading to hall 6 for the final day of the LeanSpace hackathon. It’s been so great to see the real-time requests coming in for the teams in competition with each other and if you have some time, why not challenge them to find you something obscure. 

Anyway, we’re off to enjoy a drink, or two, at the post-show Telespazio networking event. Let’s see how many sore heads we can spot tomorrow morning. 

Space Tech Expo Europe – Day 1

Day one of Space Tech Expo Europe 2022 delivered on the buzz that was palpable upon first entering Messe Bremen’s Halle 4 on a crisp German morning in the City of Space.

The multitude of masks that dominated the show last year was instead replaced by the smiles of individuals grateful to be back at a show that immediately seemed more familiar to the pre-covid 2019 version than its 2021 counterpart.  

The 3 halls seemed busier, filled with people catching up with, or making introductions to, the many established and lesser-known space companies in attendance. The highly innovative and diverse technologies on display fuelled conversations, solidifying current and inspiring new collaborations. And with 3 Conferences this year, we were spoilt for choice.

The Industry Conference gave us insights into the latest updates and key trends in the space sector. The SmallSats Conference allowed room for discussion relating to ongoing and upcoming developments in the ever-growing Small Satellite market. And the Mobility Connectivity Conference saw panels focused on discussing on-the-move connectivity in maritime, land and aviation markets, and the ecosystem that drives it.

As the day drew to a close, conversations and drinks flowed as music rang out across the halls to cap off what was a great first day and true return to form for Europe’s largest gathering of space companies and enthusiasts. Roll on day 2!

The State of Space Sector – Satellite production may not be up to speed with industry growth & launch predictions

On Episode 4 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to István Lőrincz, the president and co-founder of Morpheus Space. Morpheus Space are innovators of the world’s most efficient and scalable satellite propulsion systems and a key driving force of next generation space tech across several areas within the industry. We spoke to István about his experiences in the industry, from how he got into it to what he thinks its future will look like.

What is your take on the current state of the space sector?

I represent a controversial perspective on the industry, because I think that the industry is definitely on the right track. Certain aspects of the growth of the industry haven’t been great, and that will cause inevitable delays for the entire industry when it comes to reaching our projection. Right now, that projection is solely based on the capacity of the launchers, and nobody actually took a detailed look at what the capacity of the industry is to build satellites. If you look critically into it, the industry isn’t able to build as many satellites as we’ve projected. It’s just because of the nature of the industry. It’s emerging, which means that it’s highly segmented and there are a lot of small companies just like us, however, what’s missing in all of those other companies is the buy-in to the growth of the industry. You have to lean into it, you cannot be reactive in this environment, you have to take the responsibility and be proactive and lean into those projections. If you see that, in three years, there’s gonna be 10 times as many satellite launches, you have to work with those numbers for whatever you produce. You need to make sure that your trajectory brings you to the place where you can make 10 times more components, for whatever you’re building. That’s what’s lacking; everybody’s too cautious. We need to talk about this, someone needs to do analysis and uncover hidden capacities, primarily in the western world, because that’s represented in a consolidated market.

What are your expectations for the next five to ten years in the industry? 

We have an internal project where we are conducting market analysis to assess what the capability of producing satellite components of the industry is, and what it will be in the next two to three years. If we see a discrepancy there, we will look at solutions of how, for example, the government could incentivize companies to focus more on adapting mass production capabilities and scalable ways to conduct their business. In most small companies there are no processes or tools in place that would allow the handling of 100 clients or 1000 clients, that’s such an enormous number that most small companies would not be able to handle.

I have a feeling that that is being revived. There’s excitement around space exploration that was at its peak during the Apollo programme, and since then it’s slowly diminished. Now we are seeing this new wave of interest, this new wave of random, unconnected industries utilising this excitement and trying to attach their brands to something that’s spacey or something like that. Young people are excited about space again, even if they don’t understand the technical intricacies. It has become something to look forward to, it has become a beacon of hope. That’s growing, and it’s giving me goosebumps. That is something that I strongly believe we need to push in order to inspire the next generation, because that’s where the majority of the revolutionary changes will come from. Young people are the future of the industry. 

What gave us the success that we are seeing today?

It’s the unique technology. At the end of the day, we want to steer the customers away from that question, because the satellite operator does not care what technology is in the satellite, but rather what that technology enables the operator to do. Through our new hardware as a service model, the question has changed. The question that should be asked is ‘What is the price that you can provide to your customers for a unit of change in orbit for their momentum or velocity?’ That’s the question that we are trying to lead the industry towards. 

What distinguishes us from the bulk of the propulsion systems is our use of metal as propellant. That metal is stored in a solid state in the heart of the thruster, so it’s already integrated. Everything is tightly integrated and compact. With traditional propulsion systems, you had to procure the thruster, the propellant tank, all the piping and all the valves and sensors and flow sensors, and so on and so forth. Usually that ordeal was so complex that you had to design the satellite around the propulsion system. Our system is not like that.  You basically purchase it from us and you get a neatly packaged array that you just screw into your satellite, plug in one connector and you’re done! That’s the biggest upside of having a plug and play and complex system. Integration of components into a satellite is an ordeal and you want to make that as easy as possible there. There are companies out there where the core of their business is making integration. Let’s look at Antares; one of their primary objectives is to have a number of components in their offerings that are already optimised for integration, like easily integrating double components. 

Furthermore, the underlying physics that enables us to generate thrust is a new process. That process is highly efficient. The ionisation efficiency is a big component in every electric propulsion system. To date, this approach has the highest ionisation efficiency. If you have low efficiency, you lose a lot of energy just to create a fluid medium that you can use to generate thrust, so you want to have that as much efficiency as possible. 

There are other secondary technological innovations like our neutralizer. The propulsion system itself emits positive ions, and in order to maintain the charge balance of the spacecraft, you also have to emit the same amount of negative charges or electrons, which happens through a neutralizer. In most cases, you either have to use propellant to do that, or you have to heat up things at high temperatures, which leads to inefficiencies because it does not generate thrust. When you emit electrons or negative charges, usually those are not used to generate thrust, so they are lost. What we do is eliminate the propellant, we just use electrostatics and things called carbon nanotubes to extract and emit electrons, which improves our efficiency further. All those technologies together have put us in the position we’re in now to be making further advancements in our field. 

If you’d like to know more about the future of the satellite industry, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Podcast from neuco, with new episodes monthly. 

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Why will Electronically Steered Antennas Unlock a Huge Amount of Potential?

On Episode 3 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined by Andy Lucas, the CEO of LEUK Teleport & Data Centre, previously known as Signalhorn. He’s an avid cyclist who hopes to discover the next big use case for satellite communications and apparently get himself a robot lawnmower as well. Andy has had an impressive career in the satellite and space industry, which has led him to some really exciting things at LEUK Teleport & Data Centre. They currently provide services to GEO platforms with LEO and MEO solutions about to be launched very soon. 

We talked about the new tech in the Satellite and NewSpace industry, touching on everything from lawnmowers to the cloud. Below are some of Andrew’s most interesting insights on electronically steered antennas and their wider applications. 

What opportunities do you think exist for a business like yours within the NewSpace market, and how do you think the solutions and offerings that you’re able to provide will be influenced by NewSpace rather than traditional communications?

The pace of change in technology is remarkable, right? It’s game changing for the satellite communications industry in particular. One thing I would stress is that I firmly believe the future is a hybrid model. It won’t be Leo or Meo or Geo, or 5g or fibre, the solutions will be an aggregation of all these different technical solutions, such that customers are delivered solutions that genuinely offer the best of everything, and as a result are very biassed towards QE but don’t forget about reliability. There are issues of reliability, particularly as locations move around the world, so there’s a mix of options that change depending on area. 

Hybrid models are definitely the way forward. Now, we mustn’t forget that Leo has been around for quite a few years in the satellite industry, as has Meo, and Leo has been very successful with Iridium, for example. The difference now is actually just the capability that’s available from Leo constellations, and Meo constellations – it’s just unrecognisable from 5 or 10 years ago. Customers are much more cloud oriented. They have got a completely different mindset in terms of quality experience and how applications behave in all settings. This recent push behind homeworking, for example, has really driven home the fact that we are basically all working from a little bubbles, relying on a conductivity to actually make something like this possible. Behind that is obviously lots of fibre and variables, with a very high speed and low latency. Classic Geo really just wouldn’t have been successful, we would have all been desperately trying to find a coffee shop to huddle up in. Leo and Meo brings that low latency, high output experience to anybody everywhere around the whole planet, which is a revolution really in terms of opportunity and capability to individuals and businesses alike. 

So how do I see this being something that LEUK TDC can capitalise on? Number one, our customers are demanding it. We have numerous critical use cases that we provide for our customers. Low latency would definitely enhance our customers ability to leverage the solution that we provide, but as I say, the hybrid model is going to be the thing that blends that enhanced user experience with the reliability and simplicity of the solutions we provide today going forward. We don’t want to provide solutions to customers that give them latency at the expense of the quality of service and convenience that they enjoy today. So what does it bring to our customers? I think it brings greater reach, higher performance, far superior QE and application behaviour and it unlocks solutions such as the technology we’re using at the moment for this podcast. That’s a big improvement, particularly in locations that are classic telco coverage areas.

What developments in the industry are you most looking forward to seeing in the future?

It’s actually the whole electronic sustainable internal world. I think it has unlocked so much potential because it fixes the ease of use problem. As an industry, we need skilled engineers with a lot of experience to actually successfully deploy solutions, especially in cyber mobility contexts, where the technical solution is a bit more sophisticated. Even a simple cell tower in Africa requires an engineer to install the hardware and commission it successfully in a way that remains reliable though. Even though it’s a simple fixed antenna screwed to a tower, it still needs a bit of work to make that work correctly. 

What the ESA world brings is the potential for plug and play. It requires reduced skill sets to install equipment. As a result it greatly reduces the barrier to entry for satellite communications products, because then it’s not really a satellite communications terminal with all the complex connotations that that implies – it’s just an appliance that happens to connect wirelessly to something and then magically presents a high performance connection that has all these low latency, high throughput or high reliability solutions to the end users on the site. To me, that’s the key thing that the industry requires to unlock the potential of the existing Geo or high-performance solutions. There isn’t the number of engineers in the world to allow us to keep on doing it the old way.

I think the potential applications of steerable antenna systems are huge. How far in your future do you see them being found in everyday life?

They’re already available! One application is lawn mowers. You can spend an hour a week cutting the grass, give or take, maybe more depending on how fussy you’re being. You’ve got to get the lawn mower out of the garage, you’ve got to clean the blades, check if it’s got petrol, if it’s charged… You go around the garden, you sweep up the clippings… I enjoy it, but it’s work, whereas a Rover lawn mower just whizzes around your garden cutting the grass for you. It finds its docking station and it just deals with things by itself. There are some challenges with them though. Bizarrely they’re not necessarily easy to use. In theory, you can just draw up your grass and off they go, but actually, what you’re supposed to do is pick a wire around the perimeter of your lawn and around plants you don’t want destroyed which takes time and effort. You need an external mains socket. You know, they’re waterproof but you don’t want them being rained on. They’re gonna get stolen because they’re quite high value items. So they’re not necessarily the kind of purchase you would just make randomly, but the opportunity for me is I can get two three hours a week back, and I don’t have to buy petrol for my lawnmower anymore. That’s the kind of application that I want to start seeing more of. 

To hear more about Andy Lucas’s work at LEUK Teleport and Data Centre and the advancements in the Satellite and NewSpace industry, tune into the full episode of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast from neuco. 

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Consolidation of the Satellite & NewSpace Industry

On The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined by Stuart Gill, a product manager for Leanspace; a service provider that allows space organisations to develop bespoke software systems that are fully integrated, ready to scale and fast. Leanspace’s solution is a first of its kind, enabling space organisations to be more competitive by increasing their agility and lowering their costs. Stewart is one of the new wave of space professionals who are helping to deliver fantastic innovations in the NewSpace industry. Having started his career as a research and development engineer, he very soon became a satellite platform specialist with Thales before moving to Leanspace, where he leads the creation and delivery of new and innovative products. 

We’re talking about NewSpace, and the clue is in the name – it is relatively new – but it’s been massively growing over the last couple of years. A lot of people seem to think that we’re perhaps due some consolidation, or merging of the NewSpace industry with incumbent space and other industries. What do you think the state of the market is looking like right now? 

That’s a good question. I think everyone out there would pay to have a crystal ball which could predict that. I would agree that there’s probably going to be some mergers and some consolidation. There are a lot of actors who have arrived on the market in recent years so it will be interesting to see if there’s space for everyone. Smallsat was a very interesting example. I’ve read already about a lot of mature micro launcher companies who are turning to a verticalized business model and supplying not just the launcher but also the satellite. It will be very interesting to see where the market goes, I think there’s still going to be tremendous growth. I think everyone agrees with the projection that it’s going to be a growing industry for some years to come, but I think in the next couple of years in particular it will be interesting to see how specifically traditional space companies pivot and adapt. I think that they’re already starting to feel some pressure. And I think the NewSpace companies will start to see, especially with the economic conditions we have today, maybe a bit more trouble raising funds. It’s always dynamic in space.

When we look at consolidation in the industry, is there one particular area of the market that you think is potentially oversubscribed, that we’ll see consolidation happening in soon?

I would say the launcher market, if I was being entirely honest. I think that there’s been a lot of investment in the launcher market, but I would like to see more projects which the launch market can depend on coming through the pipeline. Even if all these launcher companies make it, they still need companies to invest in creating constellations, or any kind of satellite project. There seems to be an unequal investment in launchers versus the projects which are coming through in which those companies will rely on as well. For those companies to be commercial, they can’t rely on one or two projects per year, they have to have a sustainable, vibrant ecosystem. I think that they need to have more investment in satellite projects, or any other kind of space project. 

Are there any technologies or innovations currently in development that you think are going to have the most impact on expanding the industry in the near future?

I think the infrastructure and the digitalization space is going to have a huge impact, because it basically drives growth. All the other systems, which we have in the space industry are always siloed, they’re very slow to adapt. The changing ecosystem will be a big driver for growth, whether it’s digital factories, smarter software for operating your missions, cloud technologies… All this will have a big impact on how the industry grows. 

To hear the rest of Stuart Gill’s insights and experience in the NewSpace industry, listen to the full episode of The Satelite and NewSpace Matters Podcast here. 

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The biggest impact on the space and satellite industry 

In episode #75 of The Tech That Connects Us, we sat down with Tina Ghataore, CCO of Mynaric

She has had an impressive career so far, holding C-Suite and executive roles globally, as well as contributing significantly to the aerospace industry. 

We unpacked a lot in this episode, from technology and innovation through to Tina’s own experiences and predictions for the industry. 

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it. 

What technology or innovation do you think has had the biggest impact on the space and satellite industry within the last sort of 10 years? 

I think the ability to do one-word processing, that’s been really key. And, that’s going to become even more important.  

I used to remember debates on how much power is generated from solar arrays, you know, whether satellites are fuelled one way versus electric propulsion, but just shrinking their size because different technologies, and footprints have got smaller or highly capable. And those are some of the things that I think, you know, we have to watch closely.  

And laser comm has been around for a couple of decades. I mean, I was on the periphery of all things laser comm in the early years of constellation, remember when 900 was a big number? And now clearly it’s not!  

I think just being able to do more, with less from a side standpoint on satellites, etc, has been critical.  

How do you see the current state of the new space market? 

I’m super excited about it. I think, you know, we’re getting beyond paper pitches. I don’t know if you guys have done the whole Silicon Valley VC route or you know, the UK fundraising or in mainland Europe.  

There’s a lot of it picking up the whole new space scene. But, I’ve witnessed paper projects that were able to raise eight to 10 million on a pitch deck of 10 slides! I’ve also seen some real nuggets of technologies and companies that have come through all of that because the fundamentals were correct.  

Whether it’s new launches, new satellite builders, or a San Fran startup – it’s exciting. And then, looking forward into the future, Earth observation is also interesting. 

Are there any particular technology nuggets that are having a really significant impact that you see across sac comms and connectivity? 

Funnily enough, I think laser comm! But no, honestly, I think when you look at the capex involved in really standing up some of these constellations, you need all these ground stations, or you need so many satellites. You’re collecting all this amazing imagery, what better way to interconnect these satellites by moving data between them.  

And then you know, moving it down through an optical channel in a very secure way, and in large bandwidth. So, I think the promise of laser comm is now I like to say and, you know, we’ve tinkered around with it, we’ve proven out the use cases, it works. And now it’s about –  how can you build the products, scale them and make them affordable? That’s what we’re doing. 

To listen to the full episode, click here

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

World Satellite Business Week – Day 4

Walking around the Westin this morning there were a lot of bleary eyes after the incredible Gala Dinner to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the World Satellite Business Week event. There was delicious food, fantastic entertainment, awards and surprises aplenty, as well as some interesting shapes being thrown on the dance floor, John Clifton I’m looking at you.

Even though I am sure there were a fair few sore heads and aching feet this morning, you wouldn’t know it given the enthusiasm you could feel for the first day of the Earth Observation focused portion of the event.

After a market presentation from Euroconsult’s COO, Steve Bochinger, followed up with an interview with the Undersecretary for Communications and Information Technology for Oman, Ali Amur Al-Shidhani, the day kicked off with a great session with some of the leading operators in the sector discussing their growth strategies for the future.

There were further sessions focusing on how the earth observation will be instrumental in guiding international action on climate change, how ground system as a service solution will create value for the EO sector and how cloud platforms will revolutionise the way we apply analytics and big data solutions to EO data but, unfortunately, after this it was time for the neuco team to get ready to return home.

Thanks so much to the team at Euroconsult, and especially to Emeline Bardoux, for inviting us along and for putting on what seems to be universally agreed to be the best show in the 25 years history of WSBW. Here’s to the next 25!

World Satellite Business Week – Day 3

As we reach the middle point of WSBW, smallsats and space exploration have become the topics of the day.

Smallsat manufacturers GomSpace, SSTL, Aerospacelab, Millenium Space Systems, Terran Orbital and Hemeria took to the stage to discuss everything from how current and future supply chain issues will impact their business, whether vertical integration is the path to follow, and whether having a key prime partner, such as SSTL’s relationship with Airbus or Terran’s with Lockheed, could be a key to success and longevity. 

As space exploration once again is brought to the forefront of the public’s attention with the upcoming Artemis programme and the push towards Mars, 4 key space agencies (NASA, ESA, Australia and Luxembourg) graced the stage to discuss the importance of private company participation in the future of space exploration, spoiler, not only is public-private cooperation important but fundamental to its success. It was also exciting to have confirmation from Jim Free, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Exploration, that there will be a further Artemis 1 launch attempt on the 27th of September.

It was also great to have a rebuttal to the doom and gloom we have been hearing about investment drying up in the industry from the VC community today with Seraphim Capital, Voyager and Karista discussing the space business from their perspective. The entire panel agreed that, far from drying out, investment into the industry is still at extremely high levels, with many funding rounds still oversubscribed, albeit slower than in previous years.

Given the current geopolitical situation and recent specific attacks on European Satcom infrastructure, another hugely important conversation surrounding secure connectivity in Europe took place today with involvement from the European Commission, ESA, EUSPA and the EDA. Catherine Kavvada from the EC reminded us that, although the concept of the need for secure connectivity pre-dates the invasion of Ukraine, the war has helped shape a consensus on the way forward.

Now, we look forward to the remaining days of the event where Earth Observation gets its chance in the hot seat.

World Satellite Business Week – Day 2

While NewSpace has, of course, been a topic on the tips of most tongues this year, it’s been the traditional Satellite world that brought out the biggest crowds on day 2 of World Satellite Business Week. 

What was, quite rightly, tipped as the most anticipated talk of the event certainly didn’t disappoint! CEOs from Eutelsat, Telesat, Intelsat, SES and ViaSat took to the stage to discuss the future for global satellite operators. 

I’m not sure I can even do a summary justice given how much information was shared, however, there were certainly a number of highlights to mention. 

Eutelsat CEO, Eva Berneke, talked about the capabilities of the newly launched Konnect VHTS satellite describing it as “an asset that will address the digital divide across 60 countries of Europe and Africa”. 

SES Satellites CEO, Steve Collar, addressed the future of direct to handset solutions saying “clearly satellite access to mobile is a potential huge part of satellite going mainstream” which he sees as hugely important for the future of operators, and the industry as a whole. 

Intelsat’s new CEO, David Wajsgras, gave some positive updates on Intelsat post chapter 11 and confirmed that this is “the first time in over a decade that Intelsat has seen a growth profile” and is expected to see “growth this year compared to 2021”. 

Viasat Inc. CEO, Mark Dankberg, confirmed that Viasat 3 is still progressing well towards launch with the satellite close to being fully integrated and that the proposed Inmarsat acquisition is just waiting for regulatory approval, and they should know soon “whether it will close this calendar year or next”. 

And last, but certainly not least, Telesat CEO, Dan Goldberg, confirmed that their LEO offering, Lightspeed, will happen despite delays as “supply chain issues have impacted the delivery” of the platform and that confidence in the success of the platform is incredibly high within the business. 

It’s great to see so many developments coming from the traditional industry showing that, far from being left behind by the NewSpace industry, they’ve shown they are more than up to the challenge the future brings. Bring on day 3!

World Satellite Business Week – Paris

What a treat to be back in Paris for the World Satellite Business Week at the fabulous Westin Hotel! And even better to be invited as a media partner of EuroConsult.

This year has been a sellout event with over 1200 attendees from 50 countries, 95 sponsors and 230 speakers, making it the best attended show in it’s 25 year history.

We have already been treated to some fascinating talks on day one with a diverse range of topics from connecting the unconnected, the future of optical communications, what Comsat manufactures need to do to stay relevant and the important part that service providers still have to play in breaking down the digital divide.

One of the standout sessions of the day, especially given the recent announcement surrounding their conjoined future, was a discussion around the future of satellite connectivity by the CEOs from Eutelsat, Eva Berneke, and OneWeb, Neil Masterson. Eva described the proposed merger as “a natural step” and that “GEO and LEO will be a much stronger proposition” and Neil adding that the “market opportunity is significant” and that their technologies are “highly complimentary”. 

From a selfish perspective, it has also been great to see the issue of where the next generation of industry talent will come from, with hiring problems and a lack of talent being topics of interest across a few different panels. Chirag Parikh from the National Space Council asked the question of “How do we get more skilled people into the sector?”, a question that, given the fact it has been brought up in multiple discussions, has no easy answer it seems.

How did you get into the NewSpace industry – Scott Herman’s path into the NewSpace industry

In our most recent episode of The Tech That Connects Us, we had the delight of speaking to the CEO of Cognitive Space, Scott Herman. After starting his career in the National Security community, he made the decision to move into the commercial world.  

We found out how he got into the New Space industry, delved into his past careers and why he believes that the geospatial analytics area is overlooked. 

We’d like to go back to the beginning, how and why did you get into the NewSpace industry? 

I actually spent probably the first half of my career working in the remote sensing and geospatial analytics world, but primarily, kind of hidden in the national security community, what you might call the black world.  

So, I’ve been doing this for a long time. Since getting out of school I’ve been in this constantly repeating loop of build systems for either running satellites or exploiting the data coming from satellites, applying that to global monitoring and national security problems. Build a little, field a little, go out and support those systems, and then come back and do it all over again and build the next generation. So that’s been a pretty consistent pattern.  

After spending probably the first 15 years or so working in the national security community, I made the leap into the commercial world. But again, kind of looking back at the national security mission.  

So that’s when I joined GOI in the days of GOI and Digital Globe before they were merged together into what eventually became Maxar. I worked there for several years and then several of us kind of jumped and started a new company that was eventually acquired by spaceflight and became Sky. I was part of the Spaceflight industries umbrella, with the launch business, satellite remote sensing business with Black Sky and the assembly business with Leo Stella. So that was a lot of fun.  

I worked there for probably about eight years. Until right around the time of the SPAC the IPO with black sky. But I continued to really be interested in this problem of how to apply artificial intelligence to satellite operations. I had been through TechStars, advising a small company that was starting to really make some inroads into this particular problem and became part of their advisory board. They eventually invited me in to help lead the company to success, go through fundraising and help get the product built and everything else. So, I came on as the CEO of cognitive space a little over a year ago. 

You can catch the full episode here.

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

neuco’s Hot Companies to Watch in In-Space Economy

One of the most fascinating, fast-growing, and highest growth potential areas of the satellite & space sector is the in-space/on-orbit economy. We’ve broken this segment down into verticals with overlaps, that we see as already established but with so much more still to come. This is by no means an exhaustive list but here are some exciting players to watch.

Space Stations

Space infrastructure on this scale was once a thing of science fiction. Russia launched Salyut 1 in the early 70’s but the most widely known space station is the International Space Station, a modern marvel of engineering and international collaboration. With the next generation of space stations imminent, led by private companies, we are about to enter a new chapter and, before the end of the decade, space will look very different indeed!

Servicing

In-space/on-orbit servicing will drastically redefine how we operate in space. The servicing of satellites, including the refuelling and repairing of them, will vastly improve how well they can be maintained and how long they can be in service, and it doesn’t end there. Debris removal, transportation, and manufacturing & assembly (with its own section below) will all act as a platform and foundation that will allow incredible growth in space infrastructure, in turn benefitting Earth below and the progression of humanity.

Manufacturing & Assembly

On-orbit manufacturing and assembly capabilities will play a significant role in the future of space. Producing satellites and other assets directly in orbit will revolutionise what we will be capable of doing. The extraction of materials in space, the recycling of debris, 3D printing (which has been done on the ISS since 2014) and more, could all be game changers. In microgravity, the absence of gravity enables the production of a wide range of new materials, and even wine ages quicker!

Spaceflight

This will be the vertical that will truly highlight to society how far we have come and how far we can go, because there may be a chance to experience it yourself. As we continue to develop these technologies and drive down costs, perhaps one day you may find yourself among the stars, looking down on Earth and experiencing something the vast majority of humanity never in their wildest dreams thought they would experience.

Keep an eye out for more content and information surrounding some of the hottest space sectors coming soon!

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Next Level Space Technology

In episode #68 of The Tech That Connects Us, we were excited to be joined by Steve Good, CCO of Ramon Space. He started his career at Hughes Network Systems before two stints at both Intelsat and contact EF data. He’s held a variety of executive roles in his career. 

He then moved to lead the strategic business development for TELUS Alenia Space before then, of course, joining him on space as their Chief Commercial Officer.

Steve’s had an illustrious career within the satellite industry spending over 25 years. So, we can quite rightly say that Steve is a true industry expert. 

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it.

So, where are you headed next? Where’s the next mission?

The next mission is, certainly we go further than then folks have gone before.

We’ve already got closer to the sun than folks have gone. But, at the end of the day, we need to bring that home to Earth, and what are we learning in space that we could use to better the human condition. So, what we’re really focused on is, you know, the future of space.

And, you know, another thing is we’re launching spacecraft for lifecycles of five years, seven years, 10 years, 15 or 20 years. Therefore, if you look in your crystal ball of 15 years back, which would take us to 2007, I don’t think anybody could imagine what we’re doing in 2022. And that’s, that’s the exciting part about it. 

So, there’s a lot of fear, or there should be fear, with putting up a static constellation, a static satellite that’s unable to adapt to new applications, we can remove that fear as an industry. 

What is left for you to learn in the future education on the horizon?

We learn something every day. So, life is a learning mechanism. But personally, I enjoy the classroom, I enjoy what a university setting provides and represents, and I enjoy being in the classroom. 

And I know that puts me in a minority, but I do like learning new things and increasing my knowledge. So, a PhD, perhaps a JD, perhaps, or both? Who knows? But expanding the mind is really something that I focus on.

So, how have you approached diversity in the company?

We believe that great ideas can come from everywhere, and anywhere, and different viewpoints are essential. We actively are recruiting we’ve grown, we’ve doubled in size over the past six months. 

So, I think we’re at about 60 people we read about 30, this time last year. We’re actively recruiting for a number of roles. And we believe that great ideas come from everywhere, and we need to offer additional opportunities for all. 

I think that we are looking at the universities, we’re looking at different backgrounds to bring to the table. It’s an interesting dynamic here where we’re all able to voice our opinions, and we’re a startup, so we wear many hats. So bringing in new opinions, and actively pursuing folks that come from different backgrounds are very key for us. 

To listen to the full episode, click here.

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The Consolidation Of The Space Industry  

In episode #63 of The Tech That Connects Us, we were lucky to be joined by Sebastian Asprella and Vojtech Holub, the CEO and CTO of ThinkOrbital. We wanted to learn about their take on consolidation in the space industry (and a few other interesting topics).

We touched on the technology behind ThinkOrbital, tried to learn whether they were ambitious or just crazy, and wanted to know roughly where the industry was headed as they explore new and attractive opportunities.

When will we see new consolidation in space?

The first area appears to be launch. We’re not saying we’re experts in this field, but we did talk to people who are. We analysed the market in depth regarding where we come in to see where that sets us apart. So, I would imagine that launch would probably be the first one.

I’m not sure if the market is oversaturated. But it’s interesting to see that there are still new startups or new companies coming into launch. And I would imagine unless they’re extremely differentiated, I don’t see how that’s a concern.

The second area that comes to mind is the mega IoT constellations. So many of them could be sustained, and there’s been so much capital going into them. Consolidation doesn’t necessarily mean that companies go out of business, but there may be some mergers and acquisitions along the way.

Vojtech, do you agree or have different opinions on that?

Launch may end up even worse than consolidation, in the sense that consolidation assumes that the larger, more successful companies will buy the smaller non-successful ones. Unfortunately, most of them will just go bankrupt and disappear. There will be just a few survivors of different sizes for the few markets.

In space, there is a need for orbital tags, and a lot of companies have seen that. These tags would allow you to change orbits, grab a satellite, move it, refuel it, etc. And this is a crucial capability that is desperately needed everywhere. But there are also a lot of companies that are working towards that. And I don’t know how many companies can be sustained this way. Maybe the national security interest of individual countries will come in and make them all work. I’m not sure. But it’s another thing that pops into my mind.

You can listen to the full episode here.

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Who are OroraTech and what do they do?

In episode #61 of The Tech That Connects Us, we were excited to be joined by Thomas Grübler, the CEO of OroraTech. 

We touched on his career so far, as well as his insight on Diversity and Inclusion as well as what he’s actively doing.

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it.

What’s been going on since Covid? 

“We really grew during Covid, we launched our product actually a few weeks before the first lockdown, so all the ideas to travel everywhere and to get customers, and we got a partner in South America from it!”

How does it work? 

“So, when we started, we found out that these companies are actually not using the data which exists today already!

For example, when you have a firefighter’s number, and in a control room, quite often, they don’t know about the FS system, or the Global Forest Watch systems, and there are several reasons for that. Now let’s say there’s a huge fire, we fuse the data from all the different satellites, which are existing now, and we added our own algorithms on top. 

Then we can use our data to send off to them to use. So, they get the information, partly via email via API in the system, or we used WhatsApp previously!”

So from a diversity perspective, what is your take on it?

“Oh, what we were super lucky that from the beginning is we came from university, and our university is the most diverse place, we went to LSE. So, yes, there are people from everywhere in the world studying at the Technical University of Munich. 

So, we grew up as a complete diverse team. And what I’m super happy about is that we are not based on government defence contracts, and without needing defence, we can hire anyone from all over the world.” 

What would be the one piece of advice that you’d give to somebody that was entering the industry?

“So it’s super important to focus on the customer. It’s advice I always get from my investors, I think I do it. But on the other hand, it’s advice I’m giving to everyone. So, the customer should be really at the beginning.”

To listen to the full episode, click here. 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

neuco are going to LA!

As the world starts to get used to traveling again and conference season is in full swing, the neuco team are getting ready for a year packed full of international travel as we continue our search for the brightest minds and most exciting technology providers in the Satellite and NewSpace industries.

“Where are we going next?” I hear you ask. Well, the neuco team will be showing up in full force at this year’s Space Tech Expo in Long Beach, California. This show, as well as its sister show in Bremen, is always a fantastic one and we are looking forward to meeting as many of you there as we can.

If you are attending and would love to chat all things space, satellite, NewSpace – and maybe a little bit of recruitment thrown in for good measure – then click the link below to arrange a meeting or reach out directly to one of our industry specialist consultants.

Ad astra!

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Diversity in the Space and NewSat industry

In episode #59 of The Tech That Connects Us, we were excited to be joined by Miguel Ayala, the CEO of Aphelion Aerospace.

We touched on his career so far, as well as his insight on Diversity and Inclusion as well as what his business is actively doing. 

We hope you enjoy this episode as much as we did recording it. 

How do you think Diversity can be better addressed in the industry? 

“I look back at my own experience, and I’m not saying that, that everybody is like me, or thinks like me. But, one thing that I’ve noticed is that people follow people that they can relate to.  

What that means to me is that now that I have a growing platform, and that people are starting to listen to me, I intend to be more engaged with the community and more vocal with the community to raise awareness.  

I also want to find more young people that are looking for role models like them, that look like them. And at the same time, I invite other people of different backgrounds to have a say. I think there are many ways of doing things respectfully without offending anybody.” 

What kind of things are you doing at the moment to address this? 

“One of the things that we’re actively doing right now is we’re partnering with a non-profit organisation. This gentleman, who was part of a non-profit, put together this CubeSat project; a three-step project for high school students.  

The first step is for high school students to get grouped in teams, and build CubeSat simulators. Then, the next step is for them to build fake cube sets that are launched with the balloon, and then eventually, the next the third phase will be to build actual or real cube sets, get launched on a rocket. We have high schools here in the US, in Canada in the UK and Ecuador. 

We’ve seen so much interest from all these different high schools all over the world. So then all these kids regardless of financial status, they can get engaged, and they can learn how to build the cube sets.” 

What one piece of advice would you give to someone entering the industry? 

“Talk to people and build a good relationship with your boss, make sure that your boss and your manager are aware of your interests, your strengths and your weaknesses. And, be completely candid about your strengths and weaknesses as well. Make sure that your boss is actually your advocate. Unfortunately, a bad boss, especially early on can damage your career.  

Also, make sure you have a good relationship with your co-workers and with other leaders in the company and industry. Finally, maintain high integrity,  not just because you should, but also because you just don’t know who you will cross paths again with in the future.  

You can catch the full episode here.

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

The next industrial revolution?

In episode #57 of The Tech That Connects Us, we hosted Gary Calnan, CEO of Cislunar Industries, who are an exciting Space company working at the forefront of orbital debris removal and space manufacturing. 

He has a breadth of experience both in and out of the Space industry, and it was great to pick his brains on everything related to his role, as well as “the next industrial revolution” which we’ll be covering today.

We hope you enjoy it.

What’s your current view of the market? And where do you see it heading?

“I think that we’re at the beginning of a new industrial revolution, actually. And, I think that it’s going to be driven by space. 

My only personal experience was similar to this when the internet sort of emerged in the 90s. In 1990, I would have been 12 years old. So, that gives you some idea of how old I was when the internet was emerging, right? I think that we are right at that moment where it’s just starting and people, who are visionary see the potential.

Imagine sitting here right now knowing that people will use the capabilities that are the infrastructure that’s being laid down right now for space? In the future, as costs come way down, peoples ideas will be built. 

It’s going to enable lots of new things,  but the market right now, I think, is really a boom time.  We’re seeing a lot of investment pouring into it from the private sector. And, you know, we’re seeing increased interest from the government as well to support these things.”

What do you want to achieve? 

“I think we need to create a robust in-space economy.  I think we’re well on the way to solving launch; there are over 100 companies trying to do their own launch vehicle, but we see SpaceX really driving the cost down there. If we can put all those pieces together, and start to build that industrial layer in space, I think that’s the next step.”

What are the steps to make that happen?

“You build a robust economy in space, you can then tackle space debris and build the foundation for a moon that has hotels for tourists. And then that lays the foundation for going out beyond and utilising nuclear propulsion technologies to increase the speed of travel. 

The foundation piece is building up this industrial economy and cislunar space, encouraging that to happen, and sort of try and drive that forward. That, to me is the next Grand Challenge. And now, there won’t be an interplanetary species for sure.​!”

You can listen to the full episode here!

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Satellite & NewSpace Key Trends. neuco’s annual 2022 key trends report.

What’s in store for the Satellite & NewSpace industry?

2022, where’s it going to go, what does it have in store?

We’ve collated key trends from some of the influential figures across the 4 sectors we recruit into – Cyber Security, Connectivity, Content & Media and Satellite & NewSpace.

We’ve spoken to experts from companies such as A5G Networks, Dish Networks, Casa Systems, and more!

If you want to find out what we think will be the key trends for cyber security this year, then just click the link below to download now!

Click here to download now.

What are the barriers to space colonisation?

In episode #55 of The Tech That Connects us, we had the opportunity to speak with Bart Womack, CEO of Eden Grow Systems about his thoughts on space colonisation (amongst other insightful topics). 

Eden Grow Systems have had a fantastic year, from exceptional growth through to making significant key hires to take them to the next level. The future looks incredibly bright for the business, and we were so glad to have Bart on the podcast – we hope you enjoy it!

What do you see as the next major barrier to space colonisation? 

“I was at a conference one time with Bezos, we got to meet him and we were also both speakers. And, the biggest secret is that unless we radically genetically modify our bodies, we’re not built for space. 

When Bezos gave a talk at the New World Summit, he was saying that the real future of humanity will be in low Earth orbit; sky cities and sky platforms. This is because you can access the resources of the planet, and you can create a living environment that’s much more suitable for humans and enjoyable for humans, than in space.”

What are the realities of us living in space? 

“I don’t want to be negative, but from a resource standpoint, it’s not feasible. It’s not feasible without radically altering humans. So, I think we need to understand how we’re going to adapt our physiology and even our psychology to adapt to these environments and retain our humanity. 

I think a lot of times when I talk about the Earth being like a garden, one of the most important things that we understand is that we have to grow out of the pot first. You’re not going to just go out into space and Earth. 

Maybe when we have technology that can instantaneously transport us to other places. But until we have that technology, we have to grow out so that we’re still connected into the ecosystem here.”

What’s next for you and the team? 

“Right now we’re building our manufacturing facilities so that we can start expanding the orders that we’re doing. One of the most significant things is in January, we’re launching our crowdfunding on Republic. 

My dream is for our towers because as Dr. Day said, our towers are resilient, they offer the greatest profile of what can be grown. The next step is looking at getting high nutrient density food into kids stomachs. I went to public school, and the food that they eat is one step away from prison food!” 

If you’d like to listen to the full episode, click here to access it!

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

We’re Attending Space Tech Expo Europe

The count down begins as Andrew Ball and Ewan Lawrenson represent neuco at Space Tech, Bremen!

Space Tech Expo Europe is the continent’s major dedicated supply-chain and engineering event for manufacturing, design, test and engineering services for spacecraft, subsystems and space-qualified components. The exhibition and conference draw attendance from thousands of industry leaders, decision makers, engineers, specifiers and buyers to meet manufacturers across the supply chain for commercial, government and military space.

If you are in Bremen on the 17th or 18th of November, make sure you drop them a note to get in touch!

TRADESHOWS ARE BACK ….Space Tech Expo Europe… it’s going to be a blast!!!

#neuco #spacetechexpo

Why the space industry needs to be thinking about refuelling.

Joining us on episode 49 of The Tech That Connects Us was Daniel Faber CEO at Orbit Fab. Daniel joined Andrew Ball and Ewan Lawrenson to discuss the future of the space industry and how Orbit Fab will fuel it. The vision Daniel has for the future of space is nothing short of spectacular!

So why does the space industry need to be thinking about refuelling?

“The problem is nobody is buying fuel in orbit yet. It’s worse than that, as nobody has fuelling ports. Everyone is in a paradigm where you just don’t refuel satellites. We’re working on getting people out of that paradigm and shifting that mindset. 

‘don’t disrupt your customers, disrupt your competition’ 

 So we’re trying to convince our customers, the satellite operators whose business is providing telecommunications service to people on the ground, they’re focusing on that, so they don’t want their business disrupted. 

 What we decided to do instead was realise that they shouldn’t be our first customers. The satellite operators will come along eventually but for now, we’re looking to partner with other satellite servicing businesses. For example, companies that are building tow trucks in space, these tow trucks are used for rendezvous and docking, it’s part of their procedure. 

 What currently happens is the tow trucks are used for four or five operations, they run out of fuel, you then throw away the tow truck and build a brand new one. You run out of fuel, throw away your tow truck and buy a completely new one and launch it. 

 In the space industry, despite how inefficient something is we still do it. Because there’s so much value to having that vantage point in space. 

 Once we’d realised that our market was the tow trucks and satellite servicing companies our probability of winning as a company is predicated on the satellite servicing industry. 3 years ago there were eight companies in this industry, today more than 60 companies are working on satellite servicing a 600% increase. 

‘today more than 60 companies are working on satellite servicing a 600% increase’. 

 The perception in the industry is that satellite servicing is inevitable. So it’s been a huge change in a brand new industry.”

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

What’s the current state of the new space market right now?

Joining us on episode 46 of The Tech That Connects Us was Sascha Deri CEO at bluShift Aerospace. Sascha joined Laurie Scott and Andrew Ball.

bluShift Aerospace, are an exciting New Space company aiming to not only drastically reduce the cost of space flight but also offer a much more environmentally friendly solution than any other launch provider out there at the moment.  

So what is the state of the New Space marketing currently? What’s happening and what’s coming to the market soon? Here’s what Sascha is currently seeing. 

“The market is taking off, there was some suppression of the market last year thanks to COVID, but that was for everybody. So with the nano and small sat launches that are occurring now they’re being owned by Space X, the majority of the small sats that are out there are theirs. But they are out there making it happen – so kudos to them. 

But there are also rocket companies left and right, in addition to launch specifics services like our own. But now those companies are looking at the possibility of also providing some payloads of their own because you’re sending stuff all that way, it isn’t a stretch to provide some of your services or at least some of your technologies. 

The market certainly didn’t grow as much as we wanted it to in the last year from what I saw. But Frost and Sullivan came up with a market report which said the market is looking strong and aiming to do 38 billion in just launches for small satellites to space by 2030. So that will remain a very strong industry. 

For us, the opportunities is not only that, but the population and corporations are looking to do things in a more earth responsible way. There’s a lot of focus on carbon footprints, there’s a lot of focus around transportation and electric vehicles and space transport is one of the last industries which hasn’t been touched by the ‘we should do things in a little more environmentally responsible way’. So what was cool for us as a small company launched in the United States was when we first launched a rocket using bio drive fuel we’d then see articles pop up in spacenews.com and other places then the dialogue started to change to ‘Hey space companies, you should be doing something that’s a little bit more earth-friendly.’ 

So our next launch will be off the coast of Maine, and we’ll be launching over the ocean, and in Maine, there’s a very strong fishing industry. So if your rocket has highly refined kerosene in it, or a nasty oxidizer what’s that going to do to the fisheries below? What is it doing to the ecosystem below? So even if we ignore the climate change aspects, if that rocket is plunging to the ocean and it’s not always being retrieved or it’s leaking a bit what’s that going to do to the fisheries? With ours, we can safely say other than the kinetics we will not contaminate the ecosystem below. Of course with our orbital launches and first stages of our rocket engines we plan to fully recover them and then next year we’ll be doing the same with civil, academic and commercial rockets. But you know in the bad case that one does plummet into the ocean we feel very confident that it won’t affect the ecosystem below us, and we won’t have our local fisherman being mad at us. 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

What can the satellite industry take from the mobile device space?

Joining us on episode 45 of The Tech That Connects Us is John Kinney VP of Quality Assurance with Intelsat. John joined Laurie Scott and Tom Wilding to talk about all thing’s connectivity, aircraft connectivity, business optimisation, quality and customer service. 

 John has an impressive background with over 20 years at Motorola and beyond, having worked at Rockwell Automation and Blackberry, so we wanted to find out what can the satellite industry learn from the mobile device space? Here’s what John has to say. 

“There are certainly some parallels between the two industries. They’re very similar actually, we’re just sending bits and bytes over different media. 

The main thing we can learn from the cellular industry is to focus on the customer experience. Everything starts with the customer. 

How does the customer want to use it? 

What issues does the customer currently have? 

Once we know what the customer wants and what issues we’re trying to solve for them we can work our way back through the network and supply chain, but we need to stay focused on the customer experience. 

As you know I worked for Motorola for a long time, and then went on to Blackberry and so I had a front-row seat watching Apple evolve. I remember the launch of the original iPhone in 2007. They came out with it and when it first launched the iPhone wasn’t very reliable, in fact, it was the worst-performing phone from a reliability perspective. The phone itself was fantastic from an applications point of view and it was neat and the industry was of course very curious, but it just wasn’t reliable. 

This is where Apple changed the rules to the game, this is where their focus went to customer experience. They knew when it launched that it wasn’t going to be the best, but the end isn’t the beginning. We need to remember the end, and Apple and the iPhone went from the worst to the best in two years from a reliability perspective. How did they do that? By focusing on customer experience, they did it by just learning, learning and learning some more. 

This is where they changed the rules in the industry. It was always the case that the network carrier would own the customer experience, so if you had a problem with your phone, you’d have to take it back to AT&T, Sprint or Verizon who would then send it back to the OEM. You’d have a middle person, within the loop. But Apple said no, we don’t want that middle person, everything went directly back to Apple, they bypassed AT&T who had an exclusive deal on the original iPhone. They did that intentionally, they wanted to learn and they didn’t want that learning to be filtered through the carrier, and they wanted to figure out what was going on fast and fix it fast. Which is what they did. 

 So, I learnt a lot from Apple just dominating from a customer experience point of view, they were a formidable opponent. 

Every Wednesday we sit down with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

neuco to host Space Café United Kingdom

neuco will be hosting the upcoming Space Café United Kingdom, diving deep into many topics including the UK Space Industry.

This Space Café United Kingdom will feature lan Jones, CEO at Goonhilly Earth Station, in conversation with neuco’s Laurie Scott, Andrew Ball and Ewan Lawrenson, friends of SpaceWatch.Global.

The UK Space Buzz

Ian Jones, Chairman at Satellite Applications Catapult and CEO of Goonhilly Earth Station, one of UK senior experts that has helped developed and expand the satellite communication facilities whilst also adding new services such as Deep Space Communications, Earth Observation satellite tracking, data centre services, advanced manufacturing (electronics), training and outreach, will discuss with Laurie Scott and the neuco team what the future holds might hold for the UK.

The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions in dialogue with Ian Jones.

SpaceWatch.Global is a Switzerland-based digital magazine and portal for those interested in space and the far-reaching impact of the space sector.

Make sure you sign up through the Eventbrite page to take part in the upcoming regional webinar series featuring global space experts. One not to miss if you’re involved in the space industry!

Companies to watch in the Satellite and Space Technology Markets 2021

In the ever-changing and fast-paced market of Satellite and Space Technology, there are many start-ups and businesses making amazing strides on the bleeding edge of the industry. We spoke to our team of Satellite & NewSpace consultants who work closely with the trailblazers in Space to get their list of the most exciting companies to watch in the Satellite and Space Technology Markets – 2021.

We’ve created an Infographic listing all the companies. Please feel free to share on social and download below!


Satellite Manufacturers:

AAC Clyde Space – https://www.aac-clyde.space/ 

SSTL – https://www.sstl.co.uk/ 

Nano Avionics – https://nanoavionics.com/ 

GOMSpace – https://gomspace.com/home.aspx 


Launch and Delivery:

Rocket Lab – https://www.rocketlabusa.com/ 

Relativity Space – https://www.relativityspace.com/ 

SpaceX – https://www.spacex.com/ 

Astra Space – https://astra.com/ 

Skyrora – https://www.skyrora.com/ 

D-Orbit – https://www.dorbit.space/ 


Earth Observation and Remote Sensing:

Capella Space – https://www.capellaspace.com/ 

Spire – https://spire.com/ 

Planet – https://www.planet.com/ 

HawkEye 360 – https://www.he360.com/ 

Satellogic – https://satellogic.com/ 


IoT:

Hiber – https://hiber.global/ 

Myriota – https://myriota.com/ 

Astrocast – https://www.astrocast.com/ 

Swarm Technologies – https://swarm.space/ 

Lacuna Space – https://lacuna.space/ 

OQ Technology – https://www.oqtec.space/ 


Upstream Communications:

Starlink – https://www.starlink.com/ 

OneWeb – https://www.oneweb.world/ 

ArQit – https://www.arqit.io/ 

Lynk – https://lynk.world/ 

Omnispace – https://omnispace.com/ 

LyteLoop – https://www.lyteloop.com/


Space Infrastructure:

Astroscale – https://astroscale.com/ 

Orbit Fab – https://www.orbitfab.space/ 

Astrobotic – https://www.astrobotic.com/ 

Redwire – https://redwirespace.com/


Downstream Communications:

Mynaric – https://mynaric.com/ 

Xenesis – https://xenesis.io/ 

Infostellar – https://infostellar.net/ 

Leafspace – https://leaf.space/ 

Quadsat – https://www.quadsat.com/