Open Cosmos is providing a cheap and time-saving way to reach the stars
The final frontier has never been closer than it is today. In Silicon Valley, Space X is tirelessly working to launch interplanetary travel to Mars and Japan has just announced plans to put a human being on the moon – the first astronaut to take that small step since Apollo 17 touched down in 1972. Closer to home, a slew of startups are finding new ways to rocket into orbit and one of the latest enterprises to join the club is Open Cosmos.
The brainchild of CEO and founder Rafael Jordá Siquier, the startup enables customers to launch nanosatellites with a payload of up to 20kg at a fraction of the cost and time of conventional options. While it could traditionally take up to around four years and cost roughly £5m to get a small satellite into orbit, Open Cosmos offers a one-stop solution that slashes both the time and price. The cost for a three-unit nanosatellite mission starts at £500,000 and the timescale from planning to launch is less than a year
The company is able to achieve this by doing everything from mission simulations to spacecraft designs in-house. By owning all the technology, and standardising interfaces, it’s able to simplify the mission, removing handcrafted and costly elements. “We are entering a new age of space heralded by the miniaturisation and commercialisation of electronics,” says Siquier. “Formerly, testing in orbit meant bespoke, bulky and costly satellite platforms. That’s no longer the case and the UK is leading the way in unlocking space for the masses.”
Funded less than two years ago, Open Cosmos was formed with help – like funding, support and access to investors – from Entrepreneur First, the London-based company builder and early-stage investor. This has enabled the company to rapidly grow to a stage where it could launch its first nanosatellite from the International Space Station in March 2017.
With an offering like this, we can certainly see Open Cosmos taking off.