Back in March we covered the launch of Seraphim Capital’s new “Space Camp Accelerator”. This is the UK’s first dedicated accelerator programme for startups in the spacetech industry.
Ther’s now selected the six companies in this first cohort. They come from from the US, Denmark and the UK. The programme is underway and is 9 weeks in total, ending 9/10 July. The key partners are the new UK Space Agency, Dentons, Rolls-Royce, Cyient, European Space Agency, SA Catapult and Capital Enterprise as well as Airbus, SSTL and Telespazio.
Here’s a run-down of which companies are in the programme, in their own words:
QuadSAT is a Danish company that has developed brand new tools and techniques for testing and calibrating satellite antennas being deployed in high-value Maritime and Aeronautical markets. Combining the latest drone technology with a simulated satellite payload and mathematical algorithms, QuadSAT simplifies the requirements for satellite antenna testing, qualification and calibration.
Tesseract builds satellite propulsion systems that use non-toxic propellants, have dramatically better performance, and lower cost than existing options.
Current satellite propulsion technologies rely on toxic fuel that is dangerous to handle. This results in fuel costs of up to $500k per satellite and are cost prohibitive for inexpensive smallsats. Tesseract has redesigned thrusters for low toxicity fuels and modern manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing. This eliminates the $500k fuelling cost and provides twice the propulsion for half the price. Tesseract is an alumnus of Y Combinator – the world’s pre-eminent start-up accelerator and already has Letters of Intent for over $150m in annual revenues.
By 2050 there will be 10 billion people on Earth, meaning that 70% more food will need to be produced from the same land we currently farm. The drive for yield-improving, high precision autonomous farming is, therefore, a pressing issue now. Earth Rover is looking to address this by developing farming robots based on the same technology originally developed for the ExoMars Rover. Selling precision farming-as-a-service, Earth Rover’s initial target market is the £1.7bn labour-intensive organic vegetable production market in Europe where it hopes to save farmers £1,500 per hectare p.a. Initial field trials are planned for the current growing season with one of the UK’s largest organic farms.
Global Surface Intelligence
According to the UN, there are over 4,000 satellites currently orbiting the planet, which collect and communicate a vast array of raw data which can be transformed into valuable decision-making information. This information can assist institutions and companies to better manage their land-based assets such as forestry, agriculture, water, minerals and man-made infrastructures.
Global Surface Intelligence (GSI) is one of a handful of companies around the world with access to a satellite database that effectively maps the changing behaviour of the world’s resources. GSI transforms the raw images from satellite, drone-based LiDAR and other data sets into advanced asset analytics and builds contextual views of natural assets to quantify their performance, health, yield and value, making these natural assets more investable and better managed.
The huge growth of Space data is outstripping improvements in conventional processing platforms such as CPUs and GPUs. A relatively new form of integrated circuit known as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) – designed to be configured after manufacturing by a customer using software – are capable of the hardware acceleration needed to address these issues. This capability is relevant for areas such as high-speed data analytics, network processing, security functions and low power processing for IoT and Space.Reconfigure.io has developed a core platform allowing the acceleration of key computing demands with such FPGA technology by for the first time making it readily accessible to engineers. It is, therefore, a key enabler for the mass adoption of FPGAs in the Space sector.
KisanHub is a Crop Intelligence Platform and was borne out of a desire to give farmers everywhere a sophisticated, meaningful yet, simple decision-support. Founded in 2013, KisanHub uses big data analytics, cloud computing, and machine learning to compile data from satellite imagery, weather stations, soil sensors, and other sources. The platform offers yield predictions, pesticide application monitoring and other features for potato growing, which helps sellers manage contracts and supports farmers’ decision-making. KisanHub’s target customers are agriculture enterprises, such as suppliers, processors, and retailers. Roughly 2,300 growers in the UK and 1,000 in India use KisanHub’s software, all paid for by the enterprise customers. KisanHub sources data via hardware and imagery partnerships, including one with satellite imagery provider Planet Labs. They have raised over £2.5m VC investment.
Image Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls