Only one year since its inception, Parisian space tech startup Look Up Space has raised €14 million in a seed funding round. The round is split between €7 million in private funding, which gives it the dubious honour of being France’s largest seed round for a space tech startup, and €7 million via the French Tech seed fund.
The €7 million in non-public funding portion of the round was led by CosmiCapital and MIG Capital, with Geodesic Expansion and several angel investors, including Greg Wyler (E SPACE), Hélène Huby (Urania Ventures) and Jean-Baptiste Djebbari (former Minister of Transport) participating.
The new space tech venture will use the €14 million to develop its "SORASYS" space surveillance radar demonstrator and "SYNAPSE" multi-source data fusion and processing platform by the end of 2024.
While the scenario presented to us in WALL-E, one where nothing but a sea of satellites and space junk can be seen orbiting our third rock from the sun might be a bit of an over-exaggeration, it’s exactly this type of scenario that Look Up Space is working to prevent.
At present there are some 7,000 active satellites orbiting the planet; a number up by 5,200 compared to 2018's numbers. By 2030, we could be seeing several tens of thousands more via planned mega-constellation deployments.
Now let’s add a rough estimate of 34,000+ pieces of space debris over 10 cm in size, of which more than one-third are not catalogued all floating around above our heads, and while space is by definition endless and mind-bogglingly big, the tiny sliver that our planet occupies is getting a bit crowded a bit quickly.
Where Look Up Space fits into the picture is via its development of a “keeping tabs on what’s up” platform based on a network of radars and the processing of multi-source data. Ultimately, the goal is to enable permanent, real-time, reliable (insensitive to atmospheric conditions) and precise (detection of centimeter-class objects) surveillance of what’s going on high above us.
"Through the choice of radar technology, the Look Up Space solution will be particularly well suited to future needs, enabling us to detect and track centimeter-sized objects, observe each and every object with the greatest possible repeatability, generate the most accurate orbital solutions possible, have 100% availability and very high responsiveness," explained Look Up Space co-founder and CTO Juan Carlos Dolado. "Our anti-collision algorithms are already implemented on the beta version of SYNAPSE, our dual and hybrid digital platform that brings many innovations to the processing of SSA data for public and private customers."