Our history

Our history

Up until the last few decades the major progress in space exploration and use was made by publicly-funded organizations, which still play a critical role today. The private companies that were involved tended to be larger aerospace and defence businesses with established corporate structures and legacy supply chain processes.

And while spectacular results were achieved, a lot of the technical information about space technologies and systems was, understandably, kept private.

This posed a problem for our founder, Kartik Kumar during his studies at Delft University.

While researching space engineering and mission design Kartik had to carry out rigorous investigations of different space parts in order to choose the most suitable technology for his needs - just us upstream designers are challenged with today.

However, what he found was a lack of detailed information on established products from larger companies, and a dearth of newer startups and SMEs who each shared data in different formats and locations.

In recognizing how difficult the process of researching accurate and detailed space product information was, Kartik posed a question;

What if the critical detail about space suppliers and technology wasn’t locked away in dense data sheets and catalogues across thousands of websites? What if it could instead be collated into a central platform and shared with the world - a single global marketplace for space?

satsearch was born!

Competing for space

Kartik collaborated with fellow co-founder and developer Alberto to refine the concept and built an initial prototype of the satsearch platform.

In 2015 they took the early idea to the first StartupWeekend Space: Bremen - an interdisciplinary startup competition that featured teams from multiple fields competing to demonstrate the most valuable and exciting space business concept.

The value of the idea was recognized by event organizers, and satsearch was awarded second prize at the event.

This was followed up with a joint first prize award at the first ever International Space University (ISU) Space Startup Pitch Competition, provided by the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust and sponsored by ImageSat International N.V..

These awards really gave our team some great validation - they knew they were on to something big!

Winning broader support

Following our second startup award the team applied to the TU Delft Aerospace Startup Community's startup voucher and coaching programme. After a rigorous pitching round satsearch was chosen as one of a handful of innovative companies eligible for a dedicated program of support.

Shortly after this we also went through Y Combinator’s Startup School 2017 and 2018 program - a 10-week online course that challenged the team to further improve the concept, build and test new features and investigate the market's needs and responses to our systems.

While working through these programs and continuing to refine and improve the satsearch concept, our team also grew and developed new capabilities. We attracted a number of advisors, contributors and mentors eager to play a part in our growth, and were joined by experienced space entrepreneur Narayan Prasad as COO.

With the platform now fully launched we began fielding hundreds and then thousands of curated space technology searches, and also entered into several partnerships with space businesses eager to integrate their software systems with the platform and explore other opportunities in space.

Support from the European Space Agency

In 2018 we were very proud to have been accepted into the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre accelerator at Noordwijk, the Netherlands. This achievement was the highest level of recognition we had so far received - and showed that prestigious public organizations value our platform alongside the private suppliers and manufacturers offering products through the marketplace.

Support from the ESA has been fantastic, and this year has seen further growth on the platform with yet more users accessing the tools, new suppliers getting involved and the development of further software integrations that can plug the satsearch system directly into the workflow of spacetech designers.

The ESA also selected us as one of its representative businesses at the International Astronautical Congress 2018 where we shared our work with attendees for the full course of the event, and also launched our Satsearch Membership Program.

The space industry is growing and developing, and we’re excited about the opportunities that the changes are bringing, both for our platform and for the wider business community. We’ve come a long way since the Kartik and Alberto’s initial tool to help streamline research - but we still have a long way to go to further establish the world’s first open marketplace for the space industry.

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