ELSE Raises $3 Million Seed Round for Internet of Things Constellation

Lausanne, Switzerland (August 10th, 2017) – ELSE SA, the Swiss new space start-up, today announced the funding of a $3 million seed round. The successful capital raise was enabled by a group of investors including Airbus Ventures, a Geneva-based Independent Assets Manager and Multi Family Office, as well as numerous additional Swiss- and internationally-based private investors. The seed round follows $3 million previously raised by the company in public support.

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Vector & Citrix to Bring Virtualization Software Technology to Micro Satellites

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) additive manufactured injector by was successfully hot fire tested by Vector Space System on Dec. 8, 2016 using Liquid Oxygen/Propylene propellant (LOX/LC3H6). This work was performed under a 2015 STMD ACO Space Act Agreement. (Credit: Vector Space System)

TUCSON, Ariz., May 1, 2017 (Vector Space Systems PR) — Vector, a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced that it will join forces with Citrix to bring advanced datacenter and cloud virtualization technology into space for the first time through the development of a software defined satellite platform with Vector’s GalacticSky solution.  Citrix and Vector will work together to enhance Citrix XenServer for space use and validate Vector’s GalacticOS, a purpose built satellite app operating system that enables entrepreneurs to easily develop space based applications.

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NASA’s Exo-Brake ‘Parachute’ to Enable Safe Return for Small Spacecraft

Engineers pack the Technology Education Satellite (TechEdSat-5) with the Exo-Brake payload. At almost 4 square feet in cross section (0.35 square meters), the Exo-Brake is made of Mylar and is controlled by a hybrid system of mechanic struts and flexible cord. (Credit: NASA Ames/Dominic Hart)
Engineers pack the Technology Education Satellite (TechEdSat-5) with the Exo-Brake payload. At almost 4 square feet in cross section (0.35 square meters), the Exo-Brake is made of Mylar and is controlled by a hybrid system of mechanic struts and flexible cord. (Credit: NASA Ames/Dominic Hart)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s “Exo-Brake” will demonstrate a critical technology leading to the potential return of science payloads to Earth from the International Space Station through the deployment of small spacecraft in early 2017.

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Vector Space Systems Receives $1.25 Million From Space Angels Network

P20 sub-scale test vehicle launch (Credit: Vector Space Systems)
P20 sub-scale test vehicle launch (Credit: Vector Space Systems)

TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 18, 2016  (Vector Space Systems PR) — Vector Space Systems, a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced that it has received an additional $1.25M in angel funding led by Space Angels Network, a New York City-based investor in early-stage space companies. As one of the largest communities of space investors and entrepreneurs in the world, Space Angels Network will be contributing to the rise and success of the micro satellite industry through its investment in Vector.

With this additional seed financing, Vector will accelerate development efforts towards the goal of being one of the first commercial dedicated micro satellite launch vehicles to achieve low earth orbit. Vector continues to strive to connect space startups and innovators with affordable and reliable access to space. Its mission to reshape the multi-billion-dollar launch market has never been more critical. This need for dedicated low-cost micro satellite launches and software defined satellites to democratize space access and the speed to orbit has increased significantly since the company’s founding earlier this year.

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Smallsat Market Projected to Grow Nearly 21 Percent

Spacecraft specialists prepare spacecraft to perform the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. (Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)
Spacecraft specialists prepare spacecraft to perform the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. (Credit: NASA Ames Research Center)

PUNE, India  (ReportsnReports.com PR) — According to research report, “Global Small Satellite Market (By Type, By Application, By End-Use): Trends, Opportunities and Forecasts (2016-2021)” the industry is projected to exhibit a CAGR of over ~19.54% during 2016 – 2021, driven by the increasing number of launches and, design and development of low cost satellites. On the basis of market segment, the market has been segmented on basis of type (Nano Satellite, Micro Satellite and Mini Satellite).

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Moraliss-Nerva Nano-satellite Launcher Development Project Commences

polytechnic_bucharestBUCHAREST (UPB PR) — Through the National Agency for Scientific Research (NASR), the Romanian government has commenced sponsorship of NERVA, a Romanian orbital nanosatellite launcher currently in development by a team of professors and students from University “Politehnica” of Bucharest and ADDA – The Association Dedicated to Development in Astronautics, through a new 3-year grant funded by the European Union.

Project co-founded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF 2014-2020) through the Competitiveness Operational Program.

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SSC Looks to Sell NanoSpace Shares to GomSpace

ssc_logoSOLNA, Sweden, August 19, 2016 (SSC PR) — Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) has entered into a non-binding letter of intent with GomSpace, parent company of GomSpace ApS, regarding the potential sale of 100% of SSC’s shares in its Swedish subsidiary NanoSpace AB.

The LOI contains broad terms of a potential transaction with the right for GomSpace to conduct a due diligence investigation and the acquisition is conditional upon both parties entering into a definite agreement containing specific signing and closing terms and conditions yet to be negotiated.

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How to Dock CubeSats

The ability to autonomously rendezvous and dock CubeSats could enable in-orbit assembly of larger structures that simply would not be possible in any other way. (Credit: EPFL/Jamani Caillet)
The ability to autonomously rendezvous and dock CubeSats could enable in-orbit assembly of larger structures that simply would not be possible in any other way. (Credit: EPFL/Jamani Caillet)

PARIS (ESA PR) — The miniature satellites known as CubeSats already play a variety of roles in space. In future they could also serve as the building blocks of other, larger missions by being docked together in orbit.

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Links to Parabolic Arc’s Coverage of Small Satellite 2016 Conference

SkyFire’s new infrared technology will help NASA enhance its knowledge of the lunar surface. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)
SkyFire’s new infrared technology will help NASA enhance its knowledge of the lunar surface. (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

The Small Satellite 2016 Conference is now over. Below are links to Parabolic Arc’s coverage of the conference and the CubeSat Workshop that preceded it last weekend. There are also links to announcements made during the conference and in recent weeks.

Small Satellite Conference Coverage

Recent Smallsat News & Announcements

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Smallsat 2016: Updates on European Programs

clyde_spaceThere were updates given during the past week at the Small Satellite Conference and the CubeSat Workshop on European activities. Clyde Space provided an overview of the planned Outernet constellation. Nammo Raufoss provided an update on its nanosat launcher. European Space Agency (ESA)  officials also discussed the agency’s smallsat activities.

Below are summaries of those presentations from Tweets by Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust), David Hurst (‏@OrbitalDave) and RITSpaceExploration (‏@RITSPEX).

Enjoy!
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Surrey Satellite Expands LEO Platform Capability with VESTA Nanosat

VESTA nanosat (Credit: Surrey Satellite)
VESTA nanosat (Credit: Surrey Satellite)

GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed a contract with Honeywell to supply the VESTA satellite platform, a technology demonstration mission that will test a new two-way VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) payload for the exactEarth advanced maritime satellite constellation. The contract was signed as part of an MOU between Honeywell Aerospace and the UK Space Agency.

John Paffett, SSTL’s Director of Telecommunications, commented “The SSTL nanosatellite range provides flexible and highly capable payload accommodation, engineered with SSTL’s unrivalled class-leading reliability and I am delighted that VESTA will be first nanosatellite to be manufactured in our new NanoLab here in Guildford.”

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A Closer Look at Which Space Companies U.S. VC’s are Investing in

Falcon 9 launches the Dragon CRS-9 mission to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
Falcon 9 launches the Dragon CRS-9 mission to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s new publication, “Economic Development of Low Earth Orbit,” consists of a series of papers that examines a number of important policy questions that will be of rising importance as NASA transitions human spaceflight in LEO to the private sector.

One of the papers, “Venture Capital Activity in the Low-Earth Orbit Sector,”
has detailed information on what U.S. venture capitalists have invested in. Key excerpts from the paper follow.
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Vector Space Systems Acquires Garvey Spacecraft Corporation

Credit: Vector Space Systems
Credit: Vector Space Systems

TUSCON, Ariz., July 20, 2016 (Vector Space Systems PR) — Vector Space Systems, a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas and Sea Launch, today announced it has finalized the acquisition of Garvey Spacecraft Corporation. As part of the acquisition, Garvey Spacecraft Corporation Founder and CEO John Garvey joins Vector Space Systems as Chief Technology Officer.

Founded in May 2016, Vector Space Systems was formed to connect space startups with affordable launch-enabling platforms and vehicles for accessing space at a cost and schedule never before possible. The acquisition allows Vector Space Systems to accelerate its mission of fostering innovation to spark growth in the space commerce industry through reliable and frequent launch opportunities.

“Through the extensive knowledge, designs, hardware, flight experience and flight prototypes acquired from Garvey Spacecraft Corporation, Vector Space Systems has seen accelerated success within just three months of its founding, positioning us as the leading launch vehicle for the microsatellite industry,” said Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector Space Systems. “Vector Space Systems and Garvey Spacecraft Corporation share a common vision of space commerce growth, and by joining forces, we now have a team of experienced space veterans, cutting edge proven designs and prototype vehicles which have accelerated our time to first orbital launch to only 2 years from today, down from the typical 5-7 years from a clean sheet vehicle design.”

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Entrepreneurial Lingo Lesson: The Pivot

twist_chubby1_disrupt copy
First in an irregular series on entrepreneurial buzz words

Come on let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

Do you remember when,
ROI was really hummin’,
Yeaaaah, let’s pivot again,
Pivotin’ time is here!

Heeee, and round and round til IPO we go!
Oh, baby, make those investors love us so!

Let’s pivot again,
Like we did last quarter!
Yeaaah, let’s pivot again,
Like we did last year!

There comes a time in the existence of many startups when there an urgent need to change direction. You set up the company to pursue a goal, but for one reason or several — a lack of a market, shortage of investment, regulatory hurdles, a flawed concept — you have to direct all that talent, technology and enthusiasm toward a new objective that will keep the company in operation.

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Smallsat Roundup: Japanese Launcher, Australia Nanosats & Virgin Funding

LauncherOne ignites after being released from Cosmic Girl 747. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)
LauncherOne ignites after being released from Cosmic Girl 747. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Japanese Startup: Nikkei Asian Review has an interview with Takahiro Inagawa, CEO of Interstellar Technologies, about his company’s plans to develop a cheap booster for launching small satellites. “Our focus is not to develop high-end rockets but something simple and affordable, just like the Super Cub (Honda Motor’s popular small motorbike),” Inagawa said. The company plans its first sounding rocket launch this summer. http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Tech/Hokkaido-startup-aims-high-in-small-satellite-launches

Orders for Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne: Business Insider Australia reports that Australian startup Sky and Space Global plans launch part of its constellation of voice and data network nanosats aboard Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne. “It is expected to not only deliver substantial cost savings, due to LauncherOne’s ability to carry multiple nano-satellites simultaneously, but will enable us to bolster our bandwidth capacity as we launch further nano-satellites into orbit,” said company founder Meir Moalem. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/australias-sky-and-space-is-using-virgin-galactic-to-launch-nanosatellites-2016-6

UPDATE: The agreement is only a letter of intent, which falls short of firm orders for launches.

Virgin Galactic Fundraising: Sky News says that Richard Branson is raising up to $300 million for “existing shareholders” for Virgin Galactic.  “The latest injection of capital is aimed at accelerating the development of Galactic’s commercial satellite venture and expanding production capacity at the company’s headquarters,” Sky News reports. Virgin Galactic declined to comment. http://news.sky.com/story/1716551/branson-injects-cash-into-galactic-space-race