Spain’s Indra teams up with balloon operator and launch startup Zero2Infinity
WASHINGTON — Spanish IT company Indra will assist Barcelona-based Zero 2 Infinity in developing and promoting balloon-enabled systems for reaching the stratosphere and low Earth orbit.
The two Spanish companies announced today a collaborative agreement where Indra will leverage its international presence and experience developing satellite technology for Earth observation, telecommunications and ground control centers to further Zero 2 Infinity’s customer reach and technology development.
Zero 2 Infinity, which has been operating high-altitude balloons since 2009, is developing Bloostar, a balloon-assisted launch system designed to lift 75 kilograms to low Earth orbit.
José Mariano López Urdiales, Zero 2 Infinity CEO and founder, told SpaceNews Jan. 31 that the main benefits of the partnership are boosting Zero 2 Infinity’s market access and incorporating Indra’s technology expertise.
“We are going to be working with them on devising specific applications of high-altitude balloons using some of the technology that Indra has so that these high-altitude balloons can be used for more purposes,” he said.
Indra is not investing any capital into Zero 2 Infinity under the just-announced partnership.
An Indra spokesperson told SpaceNews by email that Indra has no plans for monetary investments in the short term, “but we don’t dismiss to do it depending on [how] the collaboration evolves.”
Another Spanish launch startup, PLD Space, raised $7.1 million last year led by corporate partner GMV of Madrid, Spain.
López Urdiales said Zero 2 Infinity’s “Elevate” high-altitude balloon business has several missions planned for the first quarter of this year, putting Bloostar development on the backburner while revenue-generating services take priority. He said Zero 2 Infinity would like to conduct “more complex test flights sometime later in the year,” but declined to give specific details. Last year, Zero 2 Infinity launched a Bloostar prototype, using just one of the three-stage launcher’s engines.
Indra and Zero 2 Infinity said they “will jointly examine potential missions” and aim to reach startups, research groups and small businesses seeking stratospheric or space access.