TAMPA, Fla .– Exodus Orbitals, a start-up developing software that allows customers to download and run applications from orbit, is in talks to lease satellites as plans to launch its own are delayed by seven. months until October 2022.
The company is adjusting its strategy to accelerate the start of commercial operations as it seeks to secure its first funding round, according to Exodus Orbitals founder and CEO Dennis Silin.
“The launch time [is] independent of our finances ”, said Siline.
“We have received a change in launch date notice from our mission service provider and while this does not negatively impact our plans, we still need to adjust them for a different date. “
Silin, a software developer who founded Exodus Orbitals in Canada in 2019 as a first-generation immigrant 15 years ago, said his team made their first cross-border trip to Silicon Valley in the United States in early October to meet potential investors.
The company is looking to raise $ 1.5 million to finance its inaugural satellite and the company’s operations which now involve leasing capacity on other small satellites.
“There are already satellite operators who can support third-party software applications to run on their current satellites in orbit, with no additional hardware modifications required,” said Silin. News.
“Other satellite vendors we’ve spoken with may support this model of operations on their next generation of satellites, which will launch in the coming years. “
The Canadian company said in June that it had successfully flight-tested the computer code needed to run its open platform on OPS-SAT, with the European Space Agency’s cubesat serving as orbit test bench for advanced software-driven capabilities.
Unlike traditional “curved pipe” spacecraft, software-defined satellites are reprogrammable in orbit to give operators the flexibility to respond to changes in demand, as well as to open up new business models like the “AppStore in Space”. that Exodus Orbitals intends to create.
Providing customers with an in-orbit platform for software flight testing and flight qualification is an “immediate business case” for the company, says Siline.
However, he sees a greater business opportunity by allowing software developers around the world to build applications that can run directly on the satellite’s onboard computer.
Exodus Orbitals chose an undisclosed U.S. partner to build a satellite that increases OPS-SAT capabilities for the commercial market, as well as an introductory supplier.
Although the 3U cubesat is smaller than the Exodus Orbitals satellite expectsSilin said the ESA spacecraft can support “hundreds of different software applications,” of which 10 to 20 he said have immediate commercial use cases. These range from space debris detection to data compression and error correction protocols.
“Even with our first mission, we plan to offer better instruments than those available on [ESA’s OPS-SAT] mission, ”he said.
Silin said its manufacturing contract was “on hold” until the company closes the current funding round, and the company is also suspending the lease of a satellite until it at least lifts new capital.
“We do not need to completely close the financing cycle to sign leases, but a certain threshold must be reached,” he added.
He said the pre-seed financing he obtained from Australian business incubator Moonshot primarily funding the company’s current software development work, which does not require a satellite in orbit.
“[The] the satellite mission is also a fairly small part of our expenses, ”said Silin by email.
“Once we commit the funds, the project will restart immediately (the same week). “
In the meantime, Silin said that new applications are being developed for the Exodus Orbitals platform in partnership with the Lady Rocket Foundation, a public charity that runs a series of entrepreneurial space initiatives: Zuma, which aims to provide affordable access to California firefighters and police. high-resolution optical imagery and a wildlife tracking service called Satellite Rhino.
Being able to run multiple hyperlocal satellite applications simultaneously is also a key benefit for the platform Exodus Orbitals is developing, added Silin.
A new SaaS alliance
Exodus Orbitals is also forming a working group to promote the concept of satellite-as-a-service and define common technical specifications between industry players.
Called Edge Computing in Space Alliance, members so far include: Copernicus Space, Exo-Space, Modularity space, Orbital Transports, Spiral blue, LEOcloud, SkyWatch and Orbits Edge – in addition to the Exodus Orbitals.
While there are a growing number of space startups with satellite-as-a-service business models, Silin said the concept still requires “considerable promotion and education efforts on its current and future capabilities to potential customers. and investors “.
He said the working group also aims to foster more collaboration and information sharing among its members, taking an approach seen in the IT industry.
“The space industry is much more secret than the software industry, and this limits its potential for growth and breakthrough innovations,” he added.
“I want this barrier removed as much as possible, at least for the ‘Edge Computing in Space’ niche.”