ClarkeBelt 2.0 proposes a network of satellites in highly elliptical orbits for high-throughput data links that avoids coverage of low-population areas. The configuration above would cover the Northern Hemisphere. Credit: ClarkeBelt 2.0

PARIS — Twenty-two startup space companies, each having raised $1 million or more, have been selected as finalists in competition for “most promising” in terms of growth opportunities, with the five winners to be announced Sept. 11.

The FinSpace Awards, organized by the space-industry consultancy Euroconsult and Communications-Smart, a corporate communications company, will end with the five winners giving pitches to to Euroconsult’s annual World Space Business Week, scheduled Sept. 11-15 here.

Perhaps surprisingly for a worldwide competition, 15 of the finalists come from Europe, with three each from Germany and Britain; two each from Italy and Switzerland and one each from Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Netherlands and Spain.

Four are from the United States, with one each from Canada, Japan and Singapore.

In addition to having raised $1 million or more in seed capital, selection criteria included being incorporated for less than six years, working in the satellite communications industry in some form or another; and passing the six judges’ assessment of growth potential, time to market and “disruptive innovation.”

Many companies that meet these criteria were not among the 22 finalists because they were already well past the start-up phase.

The six judges were:

— Jean-Jacques Dordain, the jury’s president, member of the advisory board of of Luxembourg.

— Will Porteous, partner and COO of RRE Ventures, a well-known venture capital company in the space startup sector.

— Ric Prentiss, telecoms research analyst at Raymond James & Associates.

— Pacome Revillon, CEO of Euroconsult.

— Serge Van Herck, space entrepreneur and former CEO of antenna builder Newtec.

— Pete Worden, chairman of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and former director of NASA’s Ames Research Center.

The 22 finalists are focusing on satellite subsystems, satellite integration, launch services, satellite operations and ground segment.

The five winners will be able to pitch their stories to the World Space Business Week audience and will receive 10,000 euros ($12,000) in Euroconsult research products and six months’ public relations support form Communications-Smart.

The 22 finalists are:

Aerospacelab, headquartered near Brussels, specializing in computer simulation and services.

Astrapi of Dallas, TX, with a patented signal processing system to optimize the use of radio spectrum and won a similar award at the Satellite 2017 show.

Astroscale of Singapore, designing active orbital debris removal systems, which has already raised some $53 million.

Clarke Belt 2.0, of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, which is designing a global internet-delivery constellation using highly elliptical orbits.

D-Orbit of Milan, Italy, specializing in satellite services and satellite deorbiting technologies.

The D-Orbit satellite was launched in June aboard India’s PSLV rocket and will demonstrate an on-board decommissioning system. Credit: D-Orbit

Else/Astrocast of Ecublens, Switzerland, designing a global nano satellite constellation for M2M/IoT.

eightyLEO of Grunwald, Germany, planning a global IoT/asset-tracking constellation.

German Orbital Systems of Berlin, which designs turnkey solutions for nanosatellites.

iSpace of Tokyo, a private lunar exploration/resource utilization company.

LeafSpace of Milan, Italy, providing ground-segment services.

LeoLabs of Menlo Park, California, developing a network of ground-based radars for space traffic monitoring.

Magnitude Space of Amsterdam, offering M2M/IoT services from its low-orbiting satellites.

OpenCosmos Ltd. of Harwell, Britain, an end-to-end cubesat mission provider to build, launch and operate cubesats.

Orbital Express Launch Ltd., (Orbex), of London, offering nanosat launch services.

Oxford Space Systems, of Harwell, Britain, a manufacturer of satellite structures including antennas.

PLD Space, of Elche, Spain, developing the Arion-2 rocket to launch small payloads into low Earth orbit.

Rocket Crafters of Titusville, Florida, designing the hybrid-propulsion Intrepid launch vehicle for small payloads.

SAT4M2M, of Gilching, Germany, which plans to build a global M2M/IoT network.

SkyFox Labs, of Prague, a builder of components for small satellites.

Swissto12, of Ecublens, Switzerland, a builder of antenna structures and waveguides for satellites.

ThrustME, of France, designing small ion-electric thrusters for small satellites.

Vector Space, of Tucson, Arizona, building the Vector family of small satellite launch vehicles.

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Peter B. de Selding
Peter B. de Selding

Peter de Selding is a Co-Founder and editor for He started SpaceIntelReport in 2017 after 26 years as the Paris Bureau Chief for SpaceNews where he covered the commercial satellite, launch and the international space businesses. He is widely considered the preeminent reporter in the space industry and is a must read for space executives. Follow Peter @pbdes

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