Space exploration is becoming a business for entrepreneurs

With Expansion Ventures, a fund dedicated to New Space that he created with Swedish investors and entrepreneurs, Charles Beigbeder has just completed his first closing of 100 million euros. And the entrepreneur does not intend to stop there, because his goal is to get a total of 300 million. Charles Beigbeder is a jack of all trades in business and high-tech. An entrepreneur, this central operator notably created the electricity operator Poweo and the grain cooperative AgroGeneration. As an investor, he founded several venture capital funds, in particular Quantonation in quantum and Expansion dedicated to New Space start-ups. He was also recently Secretary General of the new France DeepTech association, which was created to help European innovation move from laboratories to industry.

Charles Beigbeder is the guest on a new episode of DeepTechs, the technology podcast Challenges. But actually, what is New Space? We could compare it to the “old space”, the classic space industry, when we made billions of dollars worth of satellites that were placed in geostationary orbit, very far from Earth. A time when the big space agencies set the pace.

In 2011, a certain Elon Musk burst into a conference dedicated to the space industry to provoke the historical players present in the room. “In ten years you will all be dead,” he declared. It’s not entirely true, but it’s not entirely a lie either. Today, half a million dollar satellites are sent into space and placed in low orbit. The change is total. The commercial opportunity now lies in this low orbit, between 500 and 1,000 kilometers from Earth. Less exposed to radiation. You can send people or objects there without risking damage to them.

The advantages are numerous: elimination of latency, better visibility from space, etc. Constellations of tens of thousands of satellites are being assembled to measure climate change, connect people, and geo-locate objects and people. In the next ten years, the number of satellites in low orbit is expected to increase from the current few thousand to more than a million. And this development represents a fantastic breath of fresh air for entrepreneurs with the prospect of creating dozens of new jobs to develop hundreds of applications.

The possibilities for innovation are endless: forest fire detection, ocean and pollution monitoring from ships, forecasting tools for farmers… Starlink, created by Elon Musk, is a perfect illustration of an application for the general public: access to a quality, low-cost telecommunications network. Increasing the accuracy of geolocation should enable the development of autonomous vehicles in particular. And in industry, microgravity is a dream for many. Experiments are already underway on the International Space Station. But they can be reproduced exponentially to make new molecules or optical fibers, thanks to private space stations or dedicated space vehicles.

In this new episode of DeepTechs, we talk about rockets, launch vehicles, exploration and new applications in the space domain. Immediate start.

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