2013 was a tremendous year for the space industry, which saw commercial ventures bring space travel and human spaceflight back to the forefront of public consciousness. Millions of people participated in the Lynx Apollo Campaign for a ticket to suborbital space, hundreds of thousands applied for a one-way trip to Mars, hundreds more bought flights on Virgin Galactic (including a number of high-profile celebrities), and commercial space ventures raised hundreds of millions of dollars in private capital.
Industry highlights and milestones:
CubeSats were big news in 2013 with a record number launched in 2013, which is especially exciting because they are owned by entrepreneurial ventures and some small countries entering space for the first time. The Climate Corporation was acquired for $1 billion, Intelsat IPO’d, and Planet Labs, Skybox Imaging, Dauria Aerospace, and NanoSatisfi collectively raised $180 million. SpaceX launched an SES commercial TV satellite, which was the first time that a commercial company has launched a commercial payload as a primary. They also retired their Grasshopper prototype and launched their Falcon-9 v1.1. Orbital Sciences joined SpaceX, becoming the second company to successfully send a capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). Virgin Galactic made headlines with their rocket-powered, supersonic flight of SpaceShipTwo in Mojave, putting them on track to launch commercial services in 2014. NanoRacks celebrated over 100 payloads delivered to the ISS. Zero Gravity Solutions introduced their first commercial agriculture product, developed from experiments on the ISS.
It’s been an exciting year to be a Space Angels Network member. In 2013 we were pitched by a number of interesting companies including: NanoRacks and Zero Gravity Solutions in a micro-gravity research themed event, NovaWurks who has since gone on to win a $40m contract to salvage components from retired communications satellites, Martin Aircraft Co. a manufacturer of personal jetpacks, Rezatec using Earth observation to support carbon trading, i7 a space diving spin-off from the Red Bull Stratos team, and Generation Orbit the winner of the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace Business Plan Competition to mention a few.
In addition to evaluating deal flow and bringing the best companies forward, Space Angels Network is also an active advocate of the space industry. Here are a few of the media highlights from 2013:
- Engadget Space Show with NASA, SETI, Liftport, LaserMotive, Astrobotic, and Joe Landon of Space Angels Network (SAN at 46:15)
- Bloomberg TV’s Money Moves: Space… The Final (Investing) Frontier – Interview with Joe Landon
- BBC World News, Space: The Investing Frontier? – Richard Branson and Chad Anderson talk about the growing commercial space sector.
- MIT Enterprise Forum: Space, Are We There Yet? – Will Pomerantz of Virgin Galactic, Joe Landon of Space Angels Network, and Chris Lewicki of Planetary Resources discuss Tourists, Entrepreneurs, & Miners in Orbit.
- International Space Commerce Summit, London – Chad Anderson hosted a space investor panel with fellow Space Angels Network member Aristide Basha, Andrew Nelson of XCOR, and Per Wimmer.
Space Angels Network officially partnered with the UK Satellite Applications Catapult, an elite technology and innovation center focused on the development and commercialization of the UK space industry. Under this partnership Space Angels Network will benefit from a supply of quality deal flow from the Catapult’s accelerator program. Press release can be found here.
Space Angels Network has announced sponsorship from Spaceflight Inc. Under this sponsorship Spaceflight will work with Space Angels Network applicant and portfolio companies and provide free launch services consultation as a way to foster new small-satellite start-ups. Additionally, Spaceflight will be the preferred service provider for the orbital launch of small payloads. Release can be found here.
We have updated our website’s Investor page designed to highlight the investment opportunities in space and to connect potential investors with tools and info to make the sector less mysterious. This includes the most comprehensive list available of publicly announced NewSpace investors and their investments.
We are just now beginning to see the disruptive role that entrepreneurs will play in the evolution of the space sector. Through the efforts of SpaceX and others developing reusable rockets, launch costs have fallen dramatically and space is finally within the reach of startups. With an increased risk appetite pushing the sector forward at a rate not seen since the Apollo era, our future in space may be closer than we think. We’re looking forward to an exciting 2014!
There’s never been a better time to get involved in commercial space. If you’re ready to start investing in private space companies, we invite you to apply for membership to Space Angels.