British Trade Mission Focuses On Smallsats

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LOGAN, Utah — A trade mission to the United States this week organized by the British government seeks to introduce small satellite startup companies based in the U.K. with companies and investors in the U.S.

Nine British companies working with smallsat technologies and applications are participating in the week-long mission, including a stop at the Conference on Small Satellites here, seeking to identify new business opportunities and investments.

“There are a lot of new ideas coming through, so we picked cubesats as a theme for an entrepreneur’s mission,” said Tim Just, head of space for Innovate U.K., an economic development agency, during an interview here Aug. 11.

The companies participating in the trip, he said, include both existing firms seeking to grow their businesses as well as those just starting operations. Some of the companies produce satellite components, such as electronics and deployable structures for smallsats, while others are involved in services provided by such satellites, including analysis of Earth observation data.

Just said bringing the companies over to the U.S. together offers several advantages, including arranging more meetings. He estimated that the participating companies will make four times the number of contacts with U.S companies and investors than if they traveled on their own. “We can do a month’s worth of work in a week,” he said.

The near-term success of the trip, Just said, will be based on the number of contacts the companies make on the trip. “Ultimately, we will be looking at measuring the deal flow and the impact” on the companies, he said.

This week’s trade mission is the first space-related one run by Innovate U.K., and includes visits in California with Lockheed Martin, Virgin Galactic, and investors. Just said he is considering a second trade mission, for satellite applications, tied to the SpaceCom conference in Houston in November.