Space Business Startups Are Booming; Draper Smooths Pathway for Young Businesses Aiming to ‘Get to Space’

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Setting your sights on space is one thing. Launching a successful space-based business is another, which is one reason why Draper’s Sembler office is sponsoring the 100th Mass Innovation Nights (MIN) at the Museum of Science, Boston.

Draper gets startups into space, under the sea, and into the human body.

Draper is Boston's startup partner of choice.

“We believe in the importance of an integrated innovation community,” said Nathan Wiedenman, Director of the Sembler office at Draper

There’s never been a better time to want to take your business into space. Private companies are exploring how to fly to Mars, how to create new satellite networks, how to launch orbiting cell towers and how to make the Moon livable. In 2015 alone, the U.S. aerospace industry added $144.1 billion in export sales to the economy, and entrepreneurs are bullish on the prospects of the new space economy.

Setting your sights on space is one thing. Launching a successful space-based business is another, which is one reason why Draper’s Sembler office is sponsoring the 100th Mass Innovation Nights (MIN) at the Museum of Science, Boston.

“We believe in the importance of an integrated innovation community,” said Nathan Wiedenman, Director of the Sembler office at Draper. “Sembler is Draper’s way of fostering the development of technology entrepreneurs by giving them a way to leverage Draper’s extensive resources and 80+ years of expertise in solving the world’s toughest engineering problems.”

Draper occupies a special position within the space ecosystem that gives the company deep expertise in what’s required—and how to deliver—commercial technologies that will perform in space. Draper helped put a man on the moon and continues to provide technology, systems and consulting to all three regions of space—terrestrial, in-space and planetary.

A range of companies plan to participate in the MIN event.

  • Accion Systems, an in-space propulsion company, is developing novel solutions for low earth orbit, geostationary earth orbit and interplanetary missions. “We hope to support the space ecosystem by providing critical capabilities to satellites and spacecraft of all sizes,” said Accion Systems CEO Natalya Bailey.
  • Analytical Space is creating a network of small satellites that will provide a data relay service for remote sensing satellites. ASI COO Dan Nevius said: “Most remote sensing satellites get only a couple of hours of connectivity with the Earth’s surface per day. ASI is creating the infrastructure to allow them to get 24/7 connectivity.”
  • Lunar Station is focused on making the Moon livable. “Our MoonWatcher Mission will bring the Moon closer to everyone by providing low-latency, near real-time, continual imaging and analysis of the Moon to anyone, anytime and anywhere,” said Lunar Station CEO Blair DeWitt.
  • VALT Enterprises is developing a small launch vehicle for nanosatellites, a business model that promises to dramatically shorten the time it takes to get nanosatellites into orbit. Karl Hoose, CEO and CTO of VALT, said, “We hope to bring space launch to New England with a launch site off the coast of Maine.”

Additional organizations participating in the MIN event at the Museum of Science include Guardion, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Tellus Labs, The Quantly Group and Upstream Tech.

Draper’s contributions to these startups build on the company’s legacy of support to commercial space companies and to NASA, which began with Draper’s design of the Apollo guidance computer, and has continued with programs including the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle and the Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft.

Draper

At Draper, we believe exciting things happen when new capabilities are imagined and created. Whether formulating a concept and developing each component to achieve a field-ready prototype or combining existing technologies in new ways, Draper engineers apply multidisciplinary approaches that deliver new capabilities to customers. As a not-for-profit research and development company, Draper focuses on the design, development and deployment of advanced technological solutions for the world’s most challenging and important problems. We provide engineering solutions directly to government, industry and academia; work on teams as prime contractor or subcontractor; and participate as a collaborator in consortia. We provide unbiased assessments of technology or systems designed or recommended by other organizations—custom designed, as well as commercial-off-the-shelf.

http://www.draper.com

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Dan Dent
Draper
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