LIFT OFF: How Space Tech startups can change the global economy
A virtual roundtable on the rise & privatization of space tech
The Space Race is no longer just dominated by governments, aerospace and defense businesses. Startups can now seize new opportunities to be the first to market. Space economy - broadly defined as activities in orbit or on other planets that benefit human beings - could soon transform how they live and work. According to the not-for-profit Space Foundation, the space economy was valued at $469 billion in 2021, up 9 percent from 2020, the highest recorded growth since 2014. Space startups are offering insights and solutions for various challenges such as climate change, food security, national security and much more.
The Indian Space Tech ecosystem had a historic year in 2022 recording its first private rocket launch and multiple other satellite launches by private players. The industry is also anticipating the implementation of a new space policy in 2023 which will further open up the ecosystem.
On the other hand, Europe accounts for over 20% of global “upstream” (things that go into space and how they get there) funding, and has created five downstream (earth applications of technology in space, e.g. things that rely on satellites) unicorns. UK, France, Germany and Finland are the key hubs for Upstream Space Tech in Europe.
The European space tech startup ecosystem is now worth a combined $25B, almost all of which has emerged in just the last decade.
Keeping in mind this propelling growth of the global space tech startup ecosystem, we are bringing together panelists from India and Europe's leading space agencies and startups to discuss:
- Vision for the space tech startup ecosystem over the next decade
- Challenges the ecosystem foresees in getting there
- Policy support to help space startups capitalize on new opportunities
- How is Investment and funding being directed to support space startups
- Which tech is getting the most support in this sector
- How are incubators / accelerators accessing space startups
Antonio Figueroa González
Guidance, Navigation and Control Department Lead, The Exploration Company
Antonio holds a MSc in Aeronautics by Technical University on Madrid, and a MSc in Computational Fluid Dynamics by Cranfield University and is currently the Lead of the Guidance, Navigation and Control department at The Exploration Company (TEC). He joined TEC in April 2022 after working for 5 years at “SENER Aeroespacial”. In the last two years, he has also been Associate Professor of Aerospace Technologies and Fluid Mechanics in the Technical University on Madrid and Comillas University respectively. His field of expertise is the GNC for the Entry and Landing of spacecraft.
ESA BIC Sud France Manager, Aerospace Valley
Thaddé Bouchard, currently manager of the ESA Business Incubation Centre in the South of France (ESA BIC Sud France), is in charge of implementing the ESA program and supporting local emerging actors. Since 2020, he has been working with Aerospace Valley, where he coordinated the European INNOSUP "UFO" project dedicated to supporting and fostering new space solutions. Thanks to his university studies and professional experience, he has acquired a solid knowledge of the space sector. Focusing on international space law and policy, he has studied modern issues such as new space actors and the policy and influence of private actors in the development of an international legal framework for the exploitation of space resources. In the Strategy Department of the European Space Agency, he had the opportunity to work on the "Blue World" and "Autonomous Shipping" initiative proposals for the 2019 Ministerial Council. There, he acquired in-depth knowledge of international partnerships and extensive experience in developing space projects using cutting-edge technologies.
Deputy Director (Technical), IN-SPACe
Shashank Saxena, Deputy Director (Technical), IN-SPACe holds a B.E. in Electronics & Communication Engineering from MBM University, Jodhpur and M.E. in Telecommunication Engineering from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. He is pursuing PhD research in advanced multibeam antennas for High Throughput Satellites from Nirma University, Ahmedabad.
With a background in electronics and communication engineering, he has 23 years of experience at ISRO's Space Applications Centre (SAC), where he designed advanced antenna systems for various satellite projects. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he designed & developed Ultraviolet light-based sanitation devices for Government hospital of Ahmedabad.
Presently, as Dy. Director in the Technical Directorate of IN-SPACe, Ahmedabad, he is actively involved in enabling Start-ups and other Non-Government Entities (NGEs) to carry out space activities. He is the focal person for bringing up IN-SPACe Technical Centre, a unique space technology ecosystem for NGEs, to support design, realization, assembly and testing of Space Systems. He received the ISRO Young Scientist Merit Award in year 2007 from the hands of then President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and ISRO Team Excellence Award in 2018 for Design & Realization of GSAT-29 Spacecraft and Ground Segment Systems. He has two patents, 2 Technology Transfers and 9 papers in international journals to his credit.
Co-Founder & COO, Bellatrix Aerospace
Yashas Karanam is the COO and co-founder of Bellatrix Aerospace. Although an engineer by education, through his involvement with Bellatrix, Yashas has curated an interest and strength in disciplines across business strategy, corporate structuring, space law and finance. He was also listed under Forbes '30 under 30' India and Asia lists in 2018. Bellatrix Aerospace is a full-stack space transportation company that is designing, developing and manufacturing next-generation satellite propulsion across both chemical and electric propulsion lines. The company has become a known name in the Indian space sector since 2015, thanks in part to it achieving several technological milestones including developing the world's first commercial Microwave Plasma Thruster, India's first privately developed Hall Thruster and High-Performance Green Monopropellant Thruster. Bellatrix has raised $11 million from several marquee investors including BASF and Inflexor and has received several awards including two National Awards.
Ossi Saarela (Moderator)
Ossi Saarela is an aerospace engineer with over two decades of experience in the space industry. Early in his career he served as a flight controller for the International Space Station; he later found his passion in spacecraft autonomy design. He has designed supervisory logic for satellites and worked on an electro-optical sensing system for crewed rendezvous and proximity operations. He is currently the Space Segment Manager at MathWorks, helping space programs around the world reach their goals with the latest engineering tools and practices.