The Satellogic story seems like science fiction. The young Argentine technology oriented to the aerospace business wants to touch the sky with her hands and has just closed an agreement with Space X (Elon Musk’s spoiled girl) to put in orbit at least 4 satellites as of June, with the aim of capturing, transmitting and selling high resolution terrestrial images. “Our satellites will very soon fly on a Falcon 9 (reusable rocket)“The company’s co-founder and CEO, Emiliano Kargieman, tweeted in celebration yesterday.
Created in 2010, the company has already received investments of US $ 120 million and is shaping up to be a unicorn, as companies are known to reach a valuation of US $ 1,000 million. To the date, managed to launch 21 low-cost nanosatellites and they plan to triple that figure in 2023. The ultimate goal is to assemble a constellation of 300 satellites, all of our own manufacture. “The engineering team is in Argentina and the integration is carried out in Montevideo,” he explained to Clarion its commercial director, Luciano Giesso.
Today the company has a workforce of 200 highly qualified employees and they have offices in Argentina (Buenos Aires and Córdoba), the United States (Charlotte and Miami), Spain (Barcelona), Israel (Tel Aviv), China (Beijing) and Uruguay (Montevideo). The agreement with Space X, adds Giesso, “will allow us to increase the rate of launches at the rate of one satellite every two months“to provide very sharp images of the entire surface of the Earth in real time, a key input for governments, government agencies, space and agriculture, for example.
That is the heart of an industry that is known as “New Space”, in which a small batch of North American, Chinese and European companies participate, such as Space X. Satellogic’s strategy is to compete with cutting edge technology but with low prices. In the beginning, Kargieman (a mathematician) and his partner Gerardo Richarte, an IT expert, started with the help of INVAP. Today they position themselves as one of the largest private providers of live geographic information. The company has the ability to collect and compact the relief of more than 4 million square kilometers per day.
The injection of capital in different rounds of business allowed it to accelerate the pace of production and launches. “Last year was the most productive in our history: we put 13 nanosatellites into orbit“, says Giesso and adds that the quantity basically influences the frequency of the” mapping “. Currently, they can update the entire terrestrial surface once a month, but” in an intermediate instance, with 50 satellites, it could be done in a week ” The optimal frequency, the executive remarked, is to do it daily.
46-year-old Kargieman has credentials as an entrepreneurA: in the 90s he co-founded Core Securities, a startup focused on computer security, sold a few years later. Part of that money allowed him enter a NASA program, which introduced him to aerospace businesses and from which he projected Satellogic. “He New Space It is an industry that grows thanks to the private sector, “says the businessman. In the immediate term and with the company’s numbers” quite balanced “, he tries to climb as a relevant player in geospatial analysis.
The alliance with Space X, Giesso clarifies, is the starting point to accelerate the fabric of the constellation. “The company make frequent pitches, which coincides with our manufacturing rate, “he says. The first microsatellite was called “Captain Beto” and began to orbit the Earth on April 26, 2013. They look like a dryer: they weigh 38.5 kilos and measure 82 centimeters. Then came “Manolito”, “Tita”, “Fresco”, “Batata” and “Milanesat”, all names that refer to the Creole culture.
The latter pay tribute to women scientists, with their names in capital letters: ALICE Ball (American chemist), CAROLINE Herschel (German astronomer), CORA Ratto (Argentine mathematician), DOROTHY Vaughan (American mathematician), EMMY Noether (German mathematician), HEDY Lamar (Austrian inventor and actress), KATHERINE Johnson (American mathematician), LISE Meitner (Austrian-Swedish physicist), MARY Jackson (American mathematician) and VERA Rubin (American astronomer).