SpaceTech startup Open Cosmos scores $7m to launch cheap satellites

Oxfordshire-based SpaceTech startup Open Cosmos has raised $7m (£4.89m) in Series A funding.

Open Cosmos claims to provide satellite missions for less than £500,000 – as part of its goal to make satellites more affordable and accessible to everyone.

This latest round was led by BGF Ventures, with participation from LocalGlobe, Entrepreneur First, Transferwise cofounder Taavet Hinrikus and Microsoft’s former head of corporate strategy, Charlie Songhurst.

Open Cosmos intends to use the money to grow the team from 22 to 50, get facilities to manufacture 30 satellites a year and to fund its marketing strategy.  

The company was founded by aerospace engineering graduate Rafael Jordà Siquier, an alumnus of Entrepreneur First’s 2015 incubator programme.

It has since won €2m in contracts involving the European Space Agency (ESA) and launched a satellite in 2017, with just six months between initial design and final delivery.

The company’s satellites, which range from 4kg to 30kg, can be used by companies or scientists to take images, collect data or to provide telecom services. Examples of what they could do include: collecting images of vessels and tracking transportation of commodities, pirates, or illegal fishing or gathering images of natural resources to optimise AgriTech production, efficient use of water, sustainable mining, deforestation control, spillages and contamination.

Satellites tend to be large and expensive to implement. Jordà Siquier says that tackling this is what sets the company apart: “Early mainframe computers were several square metres in size until a few intrepid entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley made them portable, more affordable and disrupted a whole industry. Thanks to that, everyone now uses them.

“The space industry is ripe for the same disruption. We believe that our end-to-end service based on smaller, more affordable, more accessible satellites, will enable new applications to emerge,” he added.

The actual satellite launch is outsourced to companies that specialise in rocket launches, and the company has agreements with major launching companies across the globe. 

Once satellites are in orbit, Open Cosmos takes full control of them. Data collected by the satellite will be sent to the customer.

The company has also developed a software platform, qbapp, which allows customers to simulate entire missions, access potential launch opportunities and pick a satellite design, among other things.

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