5 Top Emerging Space Exploration Startups

We analyzed 149 space exploration and mining startups. Cemvita Factory, Helios, Xplore, Mission Control & TCT Aerospace develop 5 top solutions to watch out for. Learn more in our Global Startup Heat Map!

Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on innovative solutions for the space sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we decided to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 5 promising space exploration & mining startups.

Heat Map: 5 Top Space Exploration Startups

Using our StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.379.000+ startups & scaleups globally, we looked at innovation in the field of space tech. For this research, we identified 149 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.

The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 startups & scaleups developing innovative space exploration solutions. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 149 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.


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Which startups develop the other 144 solutions?


Cemvita Factory – Carbon Utilization

Carbon dioxide comprises 95% of Mars’ atmosphere, compared to just 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere. Startups are working on carbon utilization solutions that capture carbon from the atmosphere. On a Martian base, these technologies will be used to produce carbon-based products such as food, pharmaceuticals, and construction materials. In the long term, carbon utilization technologies will also contribute to terraforming on Mars.

Cemvita Factory is a US-based startup that develops a technology to capture carbon. The startup’s platform utilizes carbon dioxide and methane to produce valuable chemical intermediates and polymers. The platform uses synthetic biology to enhance carbon sequestration and oil recovery for the mining industry, reducing the carbon footprint. The solution also holds promise for in-space biomanufacturing, in a process that mimics photosynthesis.

Helios – In-Situ Utilization

To set up a base on another planet, settlers will need resources to build structures, as well as to sustain themselves. However, weight is a crucial limiting factor for cost-efficient space travel. With every kilogram of extra weight, the fuel requirement, which adds its own weight, and cost, increase astronomically. To this end, startups are working on lightweighting solutions and utilize resources in-situ in order to reduce costs.

Israeli startup Helios works on technologies for in-situ utilization. The startup’s electrolysis reactor is designed to extract oxygen and various metals from oxides in martian and lunar surfaces. Using different fabrication methods, the reactor turns the metal into infrastructure components. The startup’s solutions also aim to channel and store oxygen for accommodation and in propellants.

Xplore – Commercial Space Missions

The high costs of commercial space missions remain a challenge for conducting viable space exploration and mining expeditions. For longer duration projects, subsequent missions to earth’s orbit will also be required. This includes visits for repairs, refueling, and delivery of mined materials, among many other applications. Space startups are also working on outer-space services for advancing the development of space exploration.

Xplore is a US-based startup that offers solutions for commercial space missions. Xcraft is a multi-mission spacecraft with subsystems necessary for missions between Venus and Ceres. The platform features a large payload bay, electric propulsion, large high-gain antenna, and multi-band relay communications, as well as optical stability, advanced computing, and storage capabilities. This Space-as-a-Service startup provides commercial space missions to the moon, Venus, Mars, as well as asteroids, with flights starting in 2022.

Mission Control – Onboard Autonomy

Robots already play a major role in space exploration, with teleoperated robots assisting in mission planning and control, as well as terrestrial navigation. Startups are working to expand space robotics to enable fully autonomous planetary exploration and space debris removal as well as resource utilization and satellite repairs. These solutions use artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out navigation, data collection, docking, and other operations.

Canadian startup Mission Control provides robotics-based solutions for space exploration. ASAS, the startup’s AI-enabled technology payload, is an automated soil assessment system. The system classifies the terrain, detects novel features, and aggregates data. Further, the solution improves the navigation autonomy of rovers in extraterrestrial terrain and assesses the surroundings for scientific insights.

TCT Aerospace – Quantum Telecommunication

As space exploration startups push further into the solar system, current telecommunication solutions fall short of the necessary communication speeds and data transfer rates. Quantum telecommunication enables instantaneous communication over infinite distances. This form of communication has no latency, does not require line of sight, and is highly secure. The seamless communication it offers is imperative for advanced space exploration solutions, like asteroid mining.

TCT Aerospace is a Scottish startup that develops quantum telecommunication and space hardware solutions. The startup’s solution uses quantum entanglement principles to offer instantaneous, unbreakable point-to-point communication. Moreover, the solution does not require radio towers, relaying stations, satellites, or fiber even optical cabling. The solution enables instant communication over vast distances, like Earth to Mars, with infinite data transfer capabilities.

What About The Other 144 Solutions?

While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence and enable you to achieve your goals faster. The 5 space exploration & mining startups showcased above are promising examples out of 149 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.

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