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Private Space Co. Dauria Aerospace Will Use Smartphone Tech To Launch Russian Satellites

20 октября 2013

Leveraging the same technology found in your smartphone, Dauria Aerospace will launch the first Russian private space satellite for about $3 million early next year.


Dauria Aerospace Dauria’s DX-1 satellite

Dauria Aerospace Dauria’s DX-1 satellite

Launching DX-1, which is being accomplished through a partnership with consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Russian federal space agency Roscosmos, is the latest milestone for the private space industry and is a first step for the two-year-old startup. The company aims to gather data about earth collected by microsatellites it and others have manufactured, aggregate the data onto a cloud-based platform and then charge application developers and others to access it.


“In 2015 we are anticipating a certain percentage of revenue coming from the cloud platform,” said Ilya Golubovich, founding partner of I2BF Global Ventures, a venture firm that invested $20 million in Dauria earlier this month.


Mr. Golubovich said Dauria is now generating “99%” of its revenue through sales of its satellites to Roscosmos and other groups, but expects that percentage to shift by 2015 when he says cloud platform revenue will reach “hundreds of millions” of U.S. dollars.


Since opening the cloud platform in private beta this summer, developers have used the data to build applications for tasks including wheat harvesting, forest management and mining.


“The main thing for us is to acquire a bigger society of developers,” said Dauria President Mikhail Kokorich.


Dauria’s first satellite will use the same conventional flash memory used in smartphones and will be roughly the size of a desktop printer. The satellites incorporate pre-made parts from Samsung, will cost between $3 million and $5 million each and, because of their light weight, will also cost less to launch than traditional satellites.


Dauria also will produce $500,000 nano-satellites, which will be roughly one-fourth the size and will be used largely for machine-to-machine communications.


Dauria’s push follows the high-profile successes earlier this year by private space companies Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Orbital Sciences Corp.


Founded in 2011, Dauria is a resident of NASA Ames Research Park in California and has contracts with NASA. It’s also a partner of Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS and is part of the Skolkovo space cluster, located on the outskirts of Moscow.


The company, which employs 100, is headquartered in Munich, where its CloudEO platform is being developed. Mr. Kokorich said the company expects to receive a grant from German space agency DLR shortly.


“The space market is global by nature. The Russian market is not rich enough to fuel the group’s ambitions. Dauria Aerospace is one of the pioneers of the private sector in space,” said Dmitry Payson, director of development of Skolkovo’s Space Technologies and Telecommunications Cluster. The space cluster is one of five focus groups that are part of Russia’s Skolkovo project, all aiming to jumpstart private enterprise in Russia with both cash and connections.


The group of 110 companies focus on everything from laser ignition models for rocket engines and remote sensors to control software, he said.


Mr. Payson said although it’s still early, he sees the private space sector gaining momentum thanks to the lower cost of components and increased competition.


The biggest obstacle in Russia, along with updating federal regulations to enable smaller companies to compete for contracts alongside more established counterparts, is a mindset, he said.


“What we’re doing is education on how to build startups and what private activity is,” he said, adding his Skolkovo team now targets university teams and spinoffs from Roscosmos to start their own companies.


“A lot of things have changed from 30 years ago. Our country was a different country.”


The DX-1 will be launched by Russian rocket Souz and booster stage Fregat in an event now slated for February.


Статья на Venture Capital Dispatch.

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