Hosted by Via Satellite's Executive Editor Jeffrey Hill, each On Orbit technology focused podcast provides in-depth information and discussion about the socio-economic value of space and satellite capabilities.
Boosting Smallsats to Geostationary Orbit With GeoJump’s Isa Fritz
You may not realize it, but the distance between Low-Earth Orbit, where most small satellites reside, and Geostationary Orbit, where nearly all of the much larger satellites live, is pretty significant. At more than 21,000 miles above LEO, GEO is a challenging orbit for smallsats to reach and maintain effective operations.
Believing that there is a viable and profitable future for smallsats in GEO orbit, Isa Fritz co-founded GeoJump and took on the role of its chief technology officer. The company’s mission is to open the door to GEO for budget-conscious smallsat operators. By utilizing a Sherpa-ES orbital transfer vehicle developed by Spaceflight and employing a lunar fly-by trajectory, GeoJump says it can get customers to GEO safely in just two weeks… a huge improvement over the standard trip, which can take as long as six months.
Fritz was the runner-up in SATELLITE 2022’s Startup Space entrepreneur pitch contest in March by only a few points. Just after competing, she joined us for a chat about GeoJump’s origins and mission, her background as an engineer working on an impressive variety of spacecraft, lessons she’s learned while leading a startup, and why she sees massive opportunities for small satellites in GEO.
Startup Space Winner Dr. Luisa Buinhas of Vyoma Balances Building Tech and Building Her Business
On this episode of On Orbit, we welcome the grand prize winner of the 2022 Startup Space entrepreneur pitch contest, Dr. Luisa Buinhas. She is the co-founder of Vyoma Space, a space debris mitigation technology company based in Germany. With a background in aerospace engineering specialized in space mission design and maneuver optimization, Buinhas leads the development of Vyoma’s space program in its ambition to become a trusted partner in protecting satellite operators and space-faring nations from dangerous debris.
To accomplish this, Vyoma is building a constellation of space debris tracking satellites equipped with sensor systems and on-board optical cameras that can observe debris up close and personal in space. The satellites also have an on-board global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver that allows companies to determine the orbit of observed space debris.
During this interview, Dr. Buinhas and I discuss the origin of Vyoma and how its intelligent algorithms and software solutions work. She explains how she prepared to go up against a very competitive field of entrepreneurs at Startup Space and how she is preparing for the potentially life-changing 30-minute pitch call with investors that she won as a grand prize. Buinhas also shares some valuable advice on establishing short- and long-term goals, hiring, and finding the right investors for new startups.
Why Argentina is Investing in a Future-Focused, Government-Supported Space Economy
After a short break following the SATELLITE 2022 conference, Via Satellite’s On Orbit podcast returns with a very special interview with two of Argentina’s top science and technology government officials. Argentina’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Daniel Filmus and his colleague Matías Kulfas, Argentina’s Minister of Productive Development, join On Orbit host Jeffrey Hill to explain why their nation is investing in building the largest space economy in South America.
Filmus and Kulfas share details about their plan to build a launch facility outside of Buenos Aires, the importance of their working relationship with Argentina’s civil space agency CONAE and other regional governments, as well as the socioeconomic and environmental benefits of satellite technology.
We apologize in advance for the sound quality of the interview, as it took place in the middle of Argentina’s very busy SATELLITE 2022 exhibit hall pavilion. We would also like to thank Filmus and Kulfas’ staff and translator for their assistance in setting up this fascinating interview.
Music in this episode is from Argentine producer Lagartijeando, courtesy of Wonderwheel Recordings.
Space Gets Caught in the Crossfire of Russia’s War on Ukraine
On Feb. 24, 2022, Russia demolished the foundation of the world’s geopolitical and financial structure by commencing a military invasion of Ukraine. The West quickly responded in unison with a new form of strategic financial warfare and implemented a
wall of economic sanctions designed to isolate Russia from the global economy.
The war caught everyone off guard, including the commercial space industry, which found itself in the crosshairs of Russia’s first counterattack to the sanctions. In a bizarre Twitter rant, Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s Roscosmos, announced he was essentially holding U.K. constellation operator OneWeb hostage on the Baikonur launch pad until the U.K. government divested from the company and made guarantees that the satellites would not be used for military purposes. The stunt couldn’t have come at a worse time for OneWeb, as it needs to complete its constellation and compete with SpaceX, which also has a dominating position in the launch market.
On this episode of On Orbit, NSR Consultant Claude Rousseau, a trusted veteran analyst of the global satellite and space industries, joins host Jeffrey Hill to talk about the immediate and long-term consequences of Russia’s war on the space industry. Rousseau explains how each of the space-faring superpowers will fare in this new environment and identify who stands to lose and who stands to gain most in a global commercial space market without Russia. We also break down how the war impacts the already fragile global tech supply chain, which continues to struggle in its recovery from the pandemic, as well as the increased risk of kinetic and cyber warfare in space.
Rousseau also gives listeners a preview of the SATELLITE 2022 Finance Forum program that NSR is producing in partnership with the event on March 21, 2022.
This episode of On Orbit is brought to you by a.i. solutions®, developers of FreeFlyer, a software application used for space mission design, analysis, operations, and support for the full lifecycle of your mission. With heritage on over 225 missions, FreeFlyer provides solutions for both civil and defense space agencies, as well as the commercial space industry. Learn more about a.i. solutions® and their new release FreeFlyer 7.7 application here.
Asia’s Satellite Bandwidth Market Prepares for a Post-COVID Rebound
The overall global demand for satellite-connected applications has been steadily increasing during the past decade, and market researchers expect this trend to continue. But this growth hasn’t been evenly distributed, especially the Asia Pacific region, which includes nations like China with vast and complex fiber networks and others like Indonesia, with some of the most robust backhaul markets in the world.
In this interview, On Orbit host Jeffrey Hill speaks with APT Satellite Co. Executive Vice President Huang Bauzhong about the state of the Asia Pacific and Chinese Ku-band markets, regulatory challenges in the East, and the operator’s plans to explore potential LEO and MEO offerings.
APT Satellite Co. operates the APSTAR satellite constellation and is headquartered in Hong Kong. The company currently has five in-orbit satellites — the APSTAR-7, APSTAR-9, APSTAR-5C, APSTAR-6C and APSTAR-6D. The fleet provides broadcasting, broadband, and backhaul to regions in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands, serving approximately 75% of the world’s population.
This interview is part of a three-part series of exclusive interviews with three of the Asia-Pacific region’s leading commercial space companies in China, Japan, and Hong Kong. These interviews were produced in partnership with the Asia-Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC).
The other two interviews conducted with Fu Ziheng, president of China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Iwao Igarashi, vice president and general manager of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, are available to SATELLITE 2022 all-access pass holders and Via Satellite premium subscribers.
This episode of On Orbit is brought to you by a.i. solutions®, developers of FreeFlyer, a software application used for space mission design, analysis, operations, and support for the full lifecycle of your mission. With heritage on over 225 missions, FreeFlyer provides solutions for both civil and defense space agencies, as well as the commercial space industry. Learn more about a.i. solutions® and their new release FreeFlyer 7.7 application.
Startup Space 2022 Entrepreneurs Battle for Million-Dollar Pitch Meeting
One of nine startup entrepreneurs will soon find themselves on a 30-minute pitch call with some of the most powerful investors in the space sector, including Tess Hatch, Seraphim Capital, Toyota Ventures, and the former mayor of Washington D.C., now at MaC Venture Capital. To earn this phone call, they must beat out the other eight competitors in this year’s Startup Space pitch competition taking place on Tuesday, March 22 at the SATELLITE 2022 conference.
On this episode of On Orbit, we’re joined by competition organizer Rafferty Jackson of Jack Industries to talk about the impact Startup Space has made in its six years of existence, helping cultivate fast-growing companies such as Astroscale, LeoLabs, Ursa, Orbit Fab, and dozens more. Rafferty has been a Startup Space judge since its very first year and she has assembled an impressive line-up of competitors and judges participating in this year’s event. During this interview, Rafferty and I detail the range of technologies and people that will take the stage at SATELLITE 2022 to convey their potential during a brief, but grueling five-minute pitch.
Rafferty and host Jeffrey Hill also discuss how she came into the space industry from a successful career as an executive at Beats by Dr. Dre, during which she helped push forward the company’s business partnership with Apple. She now helps startups overcome the challenges shared by most new entrants in the space sector — the uber-technical nature of their products and the difficulty in communicating the need for these products in the market. Rafferty shares some tips that have helped her clients succeed in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Most chill intro music ever
I love it. And of course, the show’s great, too. Really deep dives and solid variety of content.
Dynamic perspective on industry developments, and engaging discussions
Please check the show notes
The show notes for Episode 6 about 5G are actually the show notes for Episode 7 about Cloud.