Stories: EIC-funded company EnduroSat is launching a new satellite into space
In 2018, thanks to EnduroSat, the Bulgarian Space Industry celebrated a historical moment: the first country’s CubeSat was activated in space and connected to two ground stations. This was the first space mission for EnduroSat, involving schools and universities to ensure a long-lasting educational outreach program in addition to the technical verification of all the components. This year, a new satellite from EnduroSat will lift off, and the Bulgarian startup will make history again.
Satellites have come a long way since the first one, Sputnik 1, blasted into space back in 1957. Nowadays, you don’t need to be part of a space agency to launch one. But EnduroSat wants to make them even easier by making CubeSats more affordable to universities, research institutes and commercial users thanks to a unique platform. The Bulgarian mini-satellite maker EnduroSat opened a ground station in its home country and build a new communication infrastructure to cut the cost of space-to-ground communication.
“This opens up unprecedented access to space for many European entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, and educational and research institutions,” said Raycho Raychev, EnduroSat’s chief executive. “They will be able to focus directly on data applications and services impacting positively on European society.”
Its cheapest module, a 10cm-cubed “CubeSat” complete with miniature solar panels and retractable communications antennas, was designed by an in-house team and manufactured locally. EnduroSat managed to bring down the cost to €35 000, compared to €100m for a conventional 3,000kg satellite. On its website, customers can also order a CubeSat configuring it for their own needs from a choice of components. Many of its customers are using them to observe the earth, for scientific experiments or for Internet of Things applications.
Hands-on educational mission
The developers also created a free Space Demo Module for European schools and universities to give students hands-on experience in how to communicate with satellites in orbit and how to use professional satellite radio modules. Anyone can access the e-learning tool Spaceport, which contains online educational videos.
“We aim to inspire the next generation of European scientists, engineers and space entrepreneurs,” added Raychev.
This month, EnduroSat announced that their 6U CubeSat SPARTAN is going to space. The Shared Platform for Applied Research and Technology Affirmation (SPARTAN) will fly onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a total of 7 payloads on a single bus. The company also raised with a US$362,000 investment from the Bulgarian fund Neo Ventures and announced a new partnership with Freigeist Capital, the investment firm of Frank Thelen, to help unleash next-generation NanoSat services.
EnduroSat received Phase 2 Grant from the European Innovation Council to ensure the company’s exponential expansion of disruptive innovation for space technology market on EU level and beyond.