Business

Recapping TC Sessions: Space 2021

Via TechCrunch

From Tuesday to Wednesday, TechCrunch held TC Sessions: Space 2021, with excellent programming and speakers from startupland, the investment community, NASA, academia, and more. We took diligent notes and wanted to share some of the notable highlights below. 

Debris: A spacecraft is 10X more likely to be hit by a dead satellite or cataloged debris than an active satellite, LeoLabs cofounder and CEO Dan Ceperley said. 

Orbital outposts: The race is heating up to get commercial LEO stations into orbit to complement/replace the ISS, as underscored by a 1-on-1 between TC and NanoRacks cofounder and Voyager President Jeffery Manber. 

VC: SPACs have been liquidity events for space investors, Bessemer Partner Tess Hatch said. She pointed to “unique sensors in space” as a 2022 investment thesis of interest. Hemisphere Ventures’ Lisa Rich said: “ I’m glad to see fewer people contacting me saying they’re going to build a rocket.” 

On rocket-building: Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck walked through the trials and tribulations—and opportunities—with Neutron. “I laid a challenge down for the team…we should be able to fly this rocket 24 hours after it lands,” Beck said. 

And finally…SPACs! Going public via SPAC helped Astra “bulletproof the books” and turbocharge recruiting, CFO Kelyn Brannon said. On the flipside, “I actually think this party is going to end very badly for a number of companies,” Rocket Lab CFO Adam Spice said. He said SPACs could represent a “dangerous” financial product and that a company needs to “be the right fit for it.” 

Related Stories
Business

AST SpaceMobile Secures AT&T Direct-to-Cell Agreement

AST SpaceMobile ($ASTS) clinched a deal with AT&T to provide satellite-to-cell connectivity through 2030, the two companies announced Wednesday.  Public markets cheered the definitive commercial agreement signed with the country’s largest cellular provider, propelling AST’s stock up nearly 70% yesterday and pushing its market cap to $1B+.  Customers will be able to opt in to […]

BusinessVC/PE

Xona Raises $19M Series A

Xona Space Systems is working to build an alternative to GPS in LEO, and it’s just secured an additional $19M to make that goal a reality.

Business

Muon Space and Earth Fire Alliance Introduce a New Wildfire Detection Satellite Constellation

Muon Space unveiled plans today for its LEO FireSat Constellation, a wildfire management network the company is building with Earth Fire Alliance. 

BusinessLEOMilitary

SDA Is Strengthening Space Industrial Base, Execs Say

A five-year-old agency within the Pentagon founded with a mandate to move quickly is stimulating investments that make the entire small sat industrial base more resilient and scalable, according to half a dozen top industry execs.