Creating Constellations, with Tim Kienberger (LeoStella)


Our guest this week is Tim Kienberger, CEO of LeoStella. This company, a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space and BlackSky, specializes in building cost-effective and scalable small satellites.


Our guest this week, Tim Kienberger, has been at the forefront of the industry’s evolution from large-scale satellite buses to the small satellite revolution. As the current CEO of LeoStella, a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space and BlackSky, he is helping the company redefine small satellite manufacturing.

In today’s episode, Tim reveals insights into the production of small satellites and the unique challenges of managing a joint venture. In addition, we discuss:

  • LeoStella’s origin story
  • Cislunar spacecraft needs
  • The impact of Starship on small satellites
  • Scaling challenges of small sat startups

And much more…

• Chapters •

00:00 – Introduction

00:22 – Tim’s career overview

02:40 – Thales/Blacksky JV

06:56 – Core offerings and customer makeup

09:01 – Current demand

12:19 – Product roadmap

14:03 – Capability needs from LEO to cislunar

17:53 – Government customers

19:50 – Balancing customization vs standardization

23:18 – Production hurdles

26:16 – Competitive landscape

27:36 – Challenges for new startups

31:32 – Impact of Starship on the small sat market

40:18 – Long-term funding needs

42:19 – What would Tim be doing if he wasn’t in the space industry