The SpaceFund Rising Star project is designed to highlight those companies who we believe have the best shot at transforming the “space” of space. The Rising Stars we feature will include teams developing new technologies and creating new markets as they work to open the frontier. We do not attest nor imply our endorsement of them or their products, nor are any of our statements meant to suggest or advise investments in them. Also, while we may or may not invest in them ourselves at some point, we feel they are noteworthy enough to highlight in this format for the education of the industry, media and public.
Often, when considering funding or investing in space companies, we hear about the huge costs of developing hardware and infrastructure. Yet there and will be a large number of new and innovative software plays integral to the space revolution. With much lower overheads, shorter time to profitability and often designed for multiple users and application cases, software businesses, while not as glamorous as rockets and space stations are absolutely critical and viable elements of the space economy. For example, SpaceBridge Logistics helps satellite customers buy their best rocket. The company’s software platform and blockchain implementation allows satellite customers to document their mission needs and use SpaceBridge’s web interface to buy a rocket tailored to their launch preferences. Customers can optimize for lowest cost launch, preferred launch window, preferred rocket vendor, and other parametres. The interface is relatively simple and the process is transparent, leaving the customer fully in control of the purchase process.
Flying on a larger launch vehicle is often cheaper per kilogram. In extreme cases, customers could enjoy a 10X launch cost savings by flying on the largest commercial launchers. However, such large launch vehicles may be beyond the needs of most customers. The SpaceBridge platform digitally groups customers together that are flying to the same orbit with a similar launch window. This enables SpaceBridge to book customers on larger launch vehicles than these customers could justify if purchasing launch on their own.
Here is SpaceBridge’s value proposition:
- Customers fly to their preferred orbits, AND
- Customers launch when they want, AND
- Customers gain access to the lowest cost launch vehicle available by bundling with customers sharing similar launch priorities.
Similar software platforms are revolutionizing industries as diverse as lodging (Airbnb), long-haul trucking (Transfix), and car rental (Turo). An authoritative digital platform for satellite launch is only now becoming practical, driven by significant market growth as thousands of satellites will launch over the coming decade. There is also rapidly expanding supply from new launch vehicle offerings, providing a wide variety of choices in launch vehicle size, price, and launch cadence.
SpaceBridge is helping customers launch satellites based on what matters to them. By adding transparency and customer bundling to the buying process, the company is doing for rocket launch what UBER has done for travelers driving home from the airport. SpaceBridge Logistics is just a better way to buy a rocket.
What We Like
As in any industry, logistics – in particular transportation – constitutes a major area of expense, planning and time consumption. In space, buying the right ride on the right rocket to the right location for your payload is as critical as the payload itself. One would expect that given its futuristic aspects, booking a spaceflight would be a simple high tech exercise. Far from it. Until now the process has been as arcane as any one might find here on Earth, times a thousand, as the considerations are far more complex in space. From the mechanics of orbital insertion to the very propellant and electronics aboard a payload or satellite and how they interface with the ride, to insurance, timing and even wait times on the pad, there are so many more elements to be considered by payload managers and purchasers – making procuring a slot for your product to get to space as challenging as building it. We see SpaceBridge Logistics as a major step forward to solving the challenge.
More than just a platform, SpaceBridge Logistics is powered by proprietary mission optimization algorithms. The company is also currently exploring using blockchain technology to handle payments and register assets, which will make this platform more robust than any comparable solutions of which we are aware. The SpaceBridge solution takes on what has historically been time and human power intensive process and automates it. While other planning programs do exist, SpaceBridge Logistics literally takes it to a new level, removing almost all human intervention and transforming what is now an arcane process into a new state of the art that fits with and helps create the future tech needed to create a nearly one stop shop for booking rides to the frontier.
Eyes to the future: SpaceBridge Logistics is the type of simplifying software and interface that will help the space industry move from being an opaque and impenetrable field to one where ever more players can engage. While focused on the back end activity of booking spaceflights, it signals a trend that begins to move space activities from a “good ‘ol boy” aerospace industrial model to one that more closely matches the modernization trends occurring in other fields. The company also appears to be positioning itself for the future of the industry, building into its’ business model they ability to offer many post-launch services such as last-mile delivery, satellite servicing, mission insurance, and more.
SpaceBridge Logistics in the News
Orbital Transports, Inc. and SpaceBridge Logistics, Inc. announced their partnership to deliver an integrated and streamlined suite of mission design, build, launch, and operations services to anyone flying small satellite missions.
“We couldn’t be more excited about partnering with Orbital Transports,” said Colin Doughan, chief executive officer of SpaceBridge Logistics.
“We’ve brought together launch services with complete mission planning and management to help satisfy the increasing demand for valuable space data. Together we can now offer a simple, end-to-end solution that anyone can use to get the data they need, whether it’s their first launch or their twentieth.”
Mattereum has announced a partnership with SpaceBridge Logistics, а company building a marketplace for in-space tug services at the intersection of aerospace and blockchain.
Pioneering London based legaltech firm Mattereum has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with SpaceBridge, a space logistics company described as the “Uber for space”.
These two innovative companies intend to work together to explore how Smart Contracts can translate into legal documents, how to standardize and automate commercial contracts for in-space services. The ambition of the partnership is to maximize the efficiency and reliability of contracts for services of all kinds in space and to implement the Smart Property Register for assets in space, from satellites to intellectual property.
Updates from the Frontier
Location, location, location. If what they say is true – and within a practical margin of engineering bravado error we believe it is – within a few years Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Elon Musk’s SpaceX are going to be able to transport large numbers of people to and from space. Yet today, outside of China’s government facility, we have only one space station in orbit.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first humans to walk on the Moon, you might notice we aren’t celebrating it on the Moon. Why? Having achieved the greatest feat in human history, why is all we have to show for it flags, footprints, and footage?
OrbitFab is an example of the new way to do business in space by disrupting from within – identify a need based on a blindspot in the traditional market and apply the frontier paradigm to the solution. Also, if you can, work within the system, burn as little of your investor’s funds as needed and get to the proof of your concept as fast as possible.