Whether navigation, weather forecasts or television – many everyday technologies are based on data from space. They are supplied by more than 3,000 satellites currently orbiting the earth. While the spacetech industry was long dominated by state institutions and large corporations, more and more startups have been getting involved for a number of years. According to a study commissioned by the Federation of German Industries (BDI), there were 125 “New Space” companies in Germany alone in 2021.
Investors are also increasingly discovering the industry for themselves: According to data from the European Space Agency Esa, the proportion of private investors increased by 86 percent between 2017 and 2021. According to the venture capital company Space Capital, more than 270 billion US dollars have flowed into spacetech start-ups worldwide in the past ten years. With its Cassini investment fund, Esa wants to invest one billion euros in European innovation projects by 2027.
Modern satellites offer new opportunities for startups
One development in particular makes this offensive possible: satellites can be built and operated ever smaller and therefore cheaper. Instead of giants weighing tons, mini-satellites from a size of just ten centimeters are now often used. The areas of application for satellite data are diverse, from communication to research to defense. The latest trend: climate protection from space.