Kuwait is about to launch its first-ever satellite mission at the end of June, supported by Bulgarian space startup EnduroSat. This is a major milestone for the Sofia-based deep tech company that engineers, builds, and operates nanosatellites. It’s also one of the first opportunities for EnduroSat to present its disruptive shared satellite service to the traditionally hardware-driven space industry.
The main focus of the Bulgarian-Kuwaiti mission is to introduce innovative space technologies for businesses and science programs, as they will be able to capture signals from the satellite and decipher them, upload code and test their software in flight through this mission.
“There’s a huge momentum around the planet and especially in the Arab world where people start dreaming about space but also start moving towards the realization of this dream. This is one of our proudest moments – we are able to offer access to space to an entire country via our own technology. When we started a few years ago, who could think about putting other nations in orbit at the fraction of the cost and those nations would undoubtedly have self-esteem as space innovators,” the founder of EnduroSat Raycho Raychev told The Recursive.
Currently, EnduroSat is one of the fastest-growing space companies in Europe with an annual growth of 300% year to year. The company recently closed a €2.5M fundraising round from Neo Ventures and Freigeist Capital and announced nine shared satellite missions until the end of 2023. EnduroSat employs over 70 deep tech engineers, space experts, and scientists in Sofia and is still looking to scale its team. Raychev says what’s important for him is to grow the company as a sustainable business.
What is a shared satellite mission and what is disruptive about it?
The shared satellite missions are a paradigm shift in the way EnduroSat is offering its services to customers. The founder explained how his team came up with the idea and stated that to access space the traditional way you need to go through a complex process of building your own infrastructure and meeting various legal barriers to get your system in orbit. According to Raychev, this costs millions of euros, at least a few years, and a big team of space engineers. He adds that the majority of people who want to access space with their sensors just want the data back. The solution his company is offering is to eliminate the complexity of the so-called satellite value chain, by taking care of it for their customers. This could allow various businesses, universities, and scientists to test their ideas in real-time and to access space the way the bigger agencies have the capacity to do. “You could literally just give us your payload and we take care of the rest and you’re in space in just a few months, tells us Raychev. “We believe that we should get a minimum number of satellites in orbit with the maximum efficiency,” he adds.
The EnduroSat founder stresses the importance of the space sector for the global economy. He thinks that Bulgaria in particular, and the region as a whole, is losing out on not having a long-term strategy in the field. Raychev says that not only can SEE countries leverage on what they have best in terms of engineering and capacity, but they could also benefit from a switch in the mindset of the already successful companies to actively seek markets in the space sector.
The Recursive visited founder & CEO Raycho Raychev and CTO Victor Danchev to learn more about the company’s next milestones, long-term vision, commercialization and funding strategy, day-to-day R&D operations, and the types of people the EnduroSat team is currently looking to hire. See more in the video.