From nanosatellites pushing ‘Internet of Things’ globally, lifetime extension of satellites in orbit, scouting for hidden maritime activity from space, infrared CubeSat constellation to detect wildfires, SatCom and 5G steerable MEMS antennas to energy-efficiency electric space propulsion systems: all forefront technologies from European space start-ups illustrated at the recent “Innovation Showcase“ in Cannes.
This first “Innovation Showcase“ event joined together six innovative New Space start-ups companies proposing very interesting cutting-edge technologies and solutions for today`s space programmes with EBAN Space, Europe’s largest gathering of private angel and early-stage investors in space and space-tech, ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), the world`s largest eco-system for space-related entrepreneurship, and Thales Alenia Space, one of Europe´s major space industries.
Six innovative young New Space companies in Europe
Hiber start-up from ESA BIC Noordwijk is building an orbital constellation of CubeSats to provide global low-cost connectivity for the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT).
Infinite Orbits start-up from UK develops and operates life extension and Bring Into Use (BIU) platforms to extend the operational lifetime of in-orbit GEO telecommunication satellites.
Kleos Space start-up from Luxembourg develops a global satellite-based radio frequency reconnaissance service to help guard borders, protect assets and save lives by delivering geolocation information.
OroraTech start-up from ESA BIC Bavaria is developing a constellation of CubeSats with infrared cameras for early detection and mapping of wildfires and tracking of extreme weather conditions.
Sofant Technologies from UK has developed a patented, low cost RF MEMS technology which dramatically reduces the power consumption of SatCom and 5G antenna systems
Zubax Robotics from ESA BIC Estonia designs, and manufactures innovative electric propulsion systems for aerospace and robots applications with improved energy-efficiency, better dynamic characteristics and higher robustness.
Start-up technologies meet private investors and large space manufacturer
As such, “Innovation Showcase“ brought together an entire eco-system of entrepreneurs, incubators and accelerators, private investors and corporations for a unique and richly productive snapshot of not only what individual entrepreneurial companies are doing, but a picture of the totally new paradigm emerging for space and space-related industries and services in the world as well.
“The fact that the companies presented had been not only through world class incubators and accelerators as the ESA BICs and Seraphim Space Camp, but had also been invested in by members of the EBAN Space Community, thus showing market traction with real clients, revenues, and a potential for return on investment was reflected in the maturity of the individual companies and was a huge validation for us, making it a very worthwhile event”, commented Robert Carpentier, Europe and North America Business Development & Sales VP at Thales Alenia Space.
“The start-ups were truly very high quality,” said Vincent Clot, Open and Business and Open Innovation Director at Thales Alenia Space.
“We see potential at different levels with all of them and will investigate opportunities to collaborate with them in a pure Open Innovation spirit.”
“ESA is extremely proud that the quality and growth potential of the companies that we have identified and supported with grant money and in-kind contribution is being recognised not only by the EBAN Space Business Angels and Early Stage funds who have invested in our ESA BICs portfolio companies but also by one of the world’s leading space industry companies,” said Frank Salzgeber, Head of Innovation and Ventures Office at ESA Telecommunications and Integrated Applications.
The six entrepreneurial companies noted that “the direct and in-depth conversations with Thales Alenia Space senior-level technical and business executives gave a real and sound insight into what large corporations are specifically looking for in their potential cooperation with New Space entrepreneurs and how this can concretely translate into a win-win situation”.
The space entrepreneurs from the start-ups also commented on the “valuable exchanges with the other New Space companies within the Innovation Showcase, where they identified and discovered possible synergies among themselves”.
“The Thales Alenia Space, EBAN Space, ESA BICs Innovation Showcase shows that real benefit can be drawn from providing an information exchange platform at an early stage which may then lead to transformational deals for all stakeholders,” added Anthony Clarke, EBAN Space Chair.
About Start-up Hiber from the Netherlands
Dutch start-up space company Hiber from ESA BIC Noordwijk is building an orbital constellation of CubeSats – small modular nanosatellites based around 10 cm units – to provide global low-cost connectivity for the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT). This Hiberband providing direct access to IOT supports tracking and harnessing data from modem-linked objects such as haulage vehicles, power cables, pipelines or sensors for precision agriculture.
With the first two nanosatellites already launched into orbit at the end of 2018 Hiber is the first to offer global IOT connectivity as a commercial service. With support from ESA’s ARTES Competitiveness and Growth programme and ESA BIC Noordwijk, the start-up has progressed to its recent launches and with over 30 employers in record time since it was founded in November 2016.
About Kleos Space from Luxembourg
Founded in 2017 Kleos Space was set-up to develop a space-powered radio frequency (RF) reconnaissance data service, with the aim to provide satellite-based Earth observation RF data to help guard borders, protect assets and save lives by delivering global activity-based intelligence and geolocation information.
The first Kleos Space satellite is planned to be launched next year and will deliver commercially available data, in addition to be a technology demonstrator. The aim of the final multi-satellite Scouting Mission System is to deliver a global picture of hidden maritime activity, enhancing the intelligence capability of government and commercial entities when the Automatic Identification System is defeated, imagery is unclear and targets are out of patrol range.
About Infinite Orbits from London, UK
Infinite Orbits was founded in 2016 by aerospace engineers and telecom entrepreneurs to bring new-space based solutions to satellite operators around the globe. The UK-based company develops and operates life extension and Bring Into Use (BIU) platforms to extend the operational lifetime of in-orbit GEO telecommunication satellites and deliver optimized satellite fleet management solutions.
The concept is that standard building blocks of crucial applications in the space industry will allow satellites to be rapidly upgradeable space platforms instead of today`s customized, single mission oriented setups.
About OroraTech from Germany
OroraTech start-up from ESA BIC Bavaria is developing a constellation of CubeSats with infrared imagers for early detection and mapping of wildfires, tracking of extreme weather conditions and supporting various other cases.
The CubeSats will provide global coverage combined with a new patent pending satellite framework for a novel high-end cost-efficient imaging system.
About Zubax Robotics from Estonia
The start-up Zubax Robotics from ESA BIC Estonia was founded in 2015 and research, design, and manufacture electric propulsion systems for aerospace and other applications which significantly improve the energy-efficiency, has better dynamic characteristics and provide higher robustness compared to traditional systems of today.
The company has developed their UAVCAN system – an open lightweight data bus standard designed for reliable intra-vehicular communication in aerospace and robotic application. The most recent development – the Télega technology – allows electric vehicles to travel further using less energy from the battery, thus alleviating one of the most significant obstacles in the way of total electrification of all kinds of transport.
About Sofant Technologies from Edinburgh, UK
Start-up company Sofant’s patent pending smart antenna technology dramatically reduces the cost of producing and operating wireless network equipment while improving performance, simplifying design and reducing power consumption.
The solution uses low-loss MEMS to enable an alternative architecture of electronically steerable array, in alternative to traditional dish antennas with mechanical steering or electronic arrays with amplifiers for each antenna element.
About ESA Business Incubation Centres - ESA BICs
The 20 ESA BICs, part of ESA Business Applications and Space Solutions programme, make up the world’s largest ecosystem for space-related entrepreneurship located in 17 European countries – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and UK. More centres are under preparation.
Over 750 start-ups have been fostered and another near 180 new start-ups are taken in yearly at the ESA BICs to be supported under the two-years ESA BIC business development programme.
About Thales Alenia Space:
Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures.
About EBAN Space:
EBAN Space is the Community of Business Angels and Early Stage Investors of EBAN, the European Business Angel Network (EBAN) dedicated to promoting and investing in space and space-related ventures. http://www.ebanspace.org