About Blue Skies Space
Blue Skies Space provides rapidly-delivered, cost-effective space science facilities. The company has developed a new class of satellites to provide high-quality data to the global scientific community, transferring the benefits of new commercial space sector developments to academic research. Twinkle is the first step in the team’s vision to create new opportunities for transformative scientific research. It was founded in 2014 and is based in London, England.
Latest Blue Skies Space News
Nov 12, 2022
I cover aerospace, astronomy and host The Cosmic Controversy Podcast. Got it! Got it! Got it! Bruce Dorminey Who would ever have guessed that Blue Skies Space Ltd. (BSSL) —- a space startup which bills itself as soon to be the “world’s first company to deliver commercial science satellite data” —- would find its first home on an inconspicuous side street on the edge of London’s financial center? But BSSL, funded by a unique mix of private and public monies, is preparing for the final design and construction phase of its first low-earth orbit satellite. And unlike missions funded directly by NASA or the European Space Agency (ESA), BSSL’s motivation is not just astronomy for science’s sake, but also astronomy for profit. Fifteen institutions from all over the globe have already signed up to be a part of BSSL’s second larger satellite project —- Twinkle, a low-earth orbiting satellite that will take spectra of exoplanetary atmospheres and objects within our own solar system. The Ohio State University, Cardiff University in the U.K., and the University of Liege in Belgium are among the fifteen institutions that have already provided early funding to be part of the Twinkle mission. What's phenomenal is that we've been able to get these universities to pre-buy into the project and to be part of the science team that shapes the program, Marcell Tessenyi, the astrophysicist CEO of BSSL, told me in a conference room at IDEALondon, a self-described innovation center not far from the City of London. Tessenyi describes the startup itself, which began operations in 2014, as a small company medium enterprise. Even so, it only has an in-house team of 12 sharing a co-working section of IDEALondon. MORE FOR YOU Blue Skies Space Ltd. But the company has already gained credibility from the astronomical community, perhaps in part because the three co-founders were already respected academics at University College, London. We’ve got funding from the European Commission with funding from the European Space Agency (ESA), the U.K. Space Agency and Innovate U.K., says Tessenyi. And we've got angel investors, and friends and family invested in this, he says. And if BSSL is successful, it should usher in a new era of astronomical observations, using satellites that are made profitable through the sale of subscriptions to the data they generate. This will even include the sale of observing time to universities and institutions, both public and private worldwide. We're talking price points in the orders of $75,000, to access the datasets per year, or $5,000 per hour for observing time on the space observatory, once it’s operational, says Tessenyi. Specifically, BSSL aims to fill a niche between the multibillion-dollar marquee missions of the national space agencies and tiny CubeSat missions being currently undertaken by a number of universities. It’s possible that BSSL and future such for-profit space science ventures could drive down the costs of doing astronomy from space. And perhaps in the process double or even triple the number of astronomy missions being launched today. BSSL’s own first venture into space will be with a tiny 1.5 million Euro, 15-centimeter telescope dubbed Mauve which will monitor flaring activity of nearby solar type stars using ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy. The goal is to determine which of these stars would make good hosts for habitable planets. It will launch in 2024. But the company’s largest planned mission is Twinkle, a much pricier, estimated $50 to $60 million satellite that will observe the atmospheres of planets around bright stars within our own galaxy. Although Twinkle will only use a telescope that is less than half a meter in diameter, from its thermally stable, low-earth polar orbit, it should study thousands of objects. This will include everything from exoplanet atmospheres and stellar disks to the surfaces of asteroids and comets within our own solar system. And the best-case scenario for Twinkle’s launch, Tessenyi told me, is the end of 2024. As for what has been the most difficult thing about this whole startup venture? The amount of complicated things we've had to go through to get to where we are, whether its early stage funding or partnerships with major manufacturers, or credibility in the user community, says Tessenyi. All of these different facets take a ton of work, he says. But the hope is that once these spacecraft are in orbit and taking data, then the costs will be recoverable and will generate surpluses from the initial subscriber customer base which can be used to invest in future missions. As for why Blue Skies Space opted to be a for-profit company instead of a non-profit? The for-profit route completely changed the landscape and opened far more doors in terms of funding opportunities, says Tessenyi. We're thinking commercially in order to be as agile and cost effective as possible, he says. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn . Check out my website or some of my other work here .
Blue Skies Space Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was Blue Skies Space founded?
Blue Skies Space was founded in 2014.
Where is Blue Skies Space's headquarters?
Blue Skies Space's headquarters is located at 69 Wilson Street, London.
What is Blue Skies Space's latest funding round?
Blue Skies Space's latest funding round is Seed VC.
How much did Blue Skies Space raise?
Blue Skies Space raised a total of $750K.
Who are the investors of Blue Skies Space?
Investors of Blue Skies Space include SFC Capital and London Co-Investment Fund.
Who are Blue Skies Space's competitors?
Competitors of Blue Skies Space include Maxar Technologies and 7 more.
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