Chicago…A Hub for Space Travel? This Entrepreneur Says Yes.

Orbital Transports mentioned on ChicagoInno: When you think about the future of commercial space travel and the possibility of long-term human presence in outer space, you think Elon Musk–and rightfully so. SpaceX has been one of the darlings of the tech world, making massive advancements in space innovation and collecting more than $1 billion in funding. But innovation in the space industry isn’t exleusive to SpaceX, nor is it limited to startups in Silicon Valley. The space industry is poised to be the “next trillion dollar industry,” and there’s a big opportunity for startups to get in on the ground floor, said…

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NewSpace Chicago Announces Business Plan Competition

NewSpace Chicago, an open community of space entrepreneurs in Chicago, announced they are holding a business plan competition (BPC) to encourage the development of commercial ventures in outer space.  The competition is focused on space-related and space-scalable business start-ups in and around the Chicagoland area.  The NewSpace Chicago BPC will be held from 9:00 to 12:00 on March 16, at 1871, a local high-tech incubator in downtown Chicago. Submissions will be accepted from February 2 until March 9.  Contestants will compete in a “shark-tank” style event, each having 15 minutes to present their business plan and answer questions before a…

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NITESat… meet NITELITE!

A major system in NITESat is the imaging payload.  It’s correct design and proper operation are critical to the success of the NITESat mission.  Consequently, we are building a prototype imaging system, called NITELITE.  This prototype will provide an engineering demonstration of the NITESat imaging system.  It will allow us to test as much of the functioning system as possible by mirroring the actual design of the NITESat architecture.  We plan to run synchronized tests of the NITELITE imaging system from a high altitude balloon while obtaining ground-based observations of light pollution during the flights. We are currently planning to…

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Pascal Rogiest talks about the satellite industry with NewSpace Chicago

The space entrepreneur networking group NewSpace Chicago recently hosted a conversation with Pascal Rogiest, recently VP of Mergers and Acquisitions of SES, S.A.  Pascal discussed current trends he sees in the communications satellite industry.  He encounters three main types of customers, private commercial companies, governments from European and developed nations, and governments from developing nations.  Typically, contracts with national governments have shorter periods than with commercial companies because of yearly budget cycles.  Developing nations are an important sector because having a satellite program is frequently a matter of national prestige for them. According to Pascal, SES has historically made about…

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NITESat Passes Preliminary Design Review

The NITESat mission team recently submitted its preliminary design to an independent review board for assessment.  The review board examined the preliminary design to ensure that it meets the mission’s top-level requirements and is consistent with the mission goals and objectives. The team presented the mission concept of operations, the system architecture, and proposed technical implementations. The system architecture for the satellite is based on an ISIS 2U cubesat frame and incorporates a number of off-the-shelf components from GOMSpace to handle standard functions including solars arrays and electrical power system, communications, command and control, and attitude determination and control. The…

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NITESat HAB flight captures night-time illumination from Chicago

We participated in a high-altitude balloon (HAB) launch recently.  This was a night launch and our goal was to capture images of night-time illumination on the ground.  We planned to test the low-light sensitivity of some off-the-shelf imaging systems to define a basic performance benchmark for the NITESat nanosatellite mission. We were testing a hacked GoPro 3 which would take high resolution images every minute or so, a hacked Canon point-and-shoot which would also take images once a minute, and a GoPro 2 which was taking standard video.  We used the same image stabilization frame to support the cameras and…

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NewSpace Chicago hosts conversation with Dylan Taylor

The space entrepreneur networking group NewSpace Chicago recently hosted a conversation with Dylan Taylor of the Space Angels Network.  Dylan talked about some of the opportunities for new start-up ventures in the space industry.  Space is a large and growing market and Space Angels Network is a leader in funding new aerospace ventures.  Reduced launch costs, miniaturization of technology, and standardization are bringing the space sector with in the reach of entrepreneurs.  SpaceWorks hs forecast over 2,000 new nanosatellite will be launched between 2014 and 2020.  We really appreciated Dylan’s comments about what he looks for when investing in new…

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NITESat Mission Achieves First Milestone

The NITESat nanosatellite mission achieved its first development milestone in September, successfully passing the Mission Concept Review.  The independent review panel examined the mission’s objectives and the concept for meeting those objectives.  All three reviewers found the mission very exciting and provided valuable feedback to the NITESat team. NITESat (Night Imaging & Tracking Experiment Satellite) is a nanosatellite mission to acquire high quality night imagery of Earth from orbit to measure the quantity and quality of light pollution across the United States.  The mission offers an opportunity to make a marked increase in out understanding of the effects of light…

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