The challenges of space
hardware development. How
to fit into the global market.
Estonian Student Satellite Foundation
What makes space hardware difficult to develop?
Different types of space hardware providers:
1. Infrastructure supplier. ESA standards, operates on higher
end of space value chain. Example: NanoAvionics,
2. Technology transfer from one market to another. Novel
approach on target market. Iceye, Planet Labs.
3. New enabling technology. Based on scientific research &
considered a breakthrough on the field. E-sail.
1. Finding customers and/or access to markets
2. Access to finance
3. Availability of skilled staff or experienced managers
*As indicated by Yasen Iliev & Lluc Diaz in “Assessment of
the financing needs of space SME-s in Europe”, 2018
Additional challenges in Estonia:
• Long & expensive supply lines
• Restricted access to IOD
• Lack of accessible funds for early stage developments
• Restricted access to potential clients for sufficient &
quick client feedback
• Shortage of senior professionals in space industry
What can you do about it?
• End of the day it all comes down to people - who are on your team
& who do you know.
• International study - Master program in noted uni with history with
space technology industry, ISU, other
• ESA internships
• Participate in space competitions!
• Choose the location for your start-up wisely, Luxembourg or
Silicon Valley (Mountain View)
• Learn to write proposals! ESA BIC is an option.
Keep in mind:
• Just because it looks like the market is “empty” it does
not mean someone is not developing and networking to
make your idea a reality!
• It will take time & money! Start now!
To dip you feet safely into space hardware.