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Jupiter, get ready for this JUICE.

JUICE is out here making news. Space systems are critical infrastructure. There's money on the table for satellite broadband. More ISAM in GEO. And more.





JUICE is out here making news. Space systems are critical infrastructure. Euroconsult says there's money on the table for satellite broadband. More ISAM is heading to GEO. AWS ground station features abound. China’s i-Space successful launch. Raphael Roettgen, Founder & Partner at E2MC Ventures and host of the Space Business Podcast, joins us to discuss the venture capital environment for new space startups and new entrants to the space market. And more.

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T-Minus Guest

Our featured guest today is Raphael Roettgen, Founder & Partner at E2MC Ventures and host of the Space Business Podcast, on the venture capital environment for new space startups and SpiderOak's recent Series C investment round.

You can follow Raphael on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Selected Reading

A European Space Probe Sets Its Sights on the Jupiter System | WIRED 

Sener makes a big boom for the JUICE satellite and three other components | SatNews

JUICE’s launch campaign in imagery | Spaceflight Now 

Space Force sustainment plan for Satellite Control Network ‘near completion,’ though hurdles remain | Breaking Defense 

Time to Designate Space Systems as Critical Infrastructure | Cyber Solarium 

Global Counterspace Capabilities Report | Secure World

Euroconsult: A $74 billion untapped opportunity | SatNews

AWS Ground Station now supports Wideband Digital Intermediate Frequency | SatNews 

Investing in Space: Intelsat signs up for Northrop Grumman satellite servicing | CNBC

Northrop Grumman Unveils New Facility in Albuquerque | NGC 

Figueroa to Lead Second Independent Review of Mars Sample Return Mission | SpacePolicyOnline.com  

JUICE Recipe Book 

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>> Andrea Accomazzo: We have a mission. We're flying to Jupiter. We're going there fully loaded with questions. Europe is getting there, Jupiter. Get ready for it.

>> Maria Varmazis: From the ESA control center in Germany, that was the voice of Operations Director Andrea Accomazzo, happy to report that an Ariane 5 rocket carrying ESA's Juice spacecraft successfully launched, and now Juice has begun its eight-year journey to the Jovian system. Today is April 14th, 2023. I'm Maria Varmazis, and this is T-Minus. Juice is out here making news. Space systems as critical infrastructure. There's money on the table for satellite broadband. More ISAM is coming to GEO, and I have an interview with Raphael Roettgen, founder and partner at E2MC ventures and host of the Space Business Podcast, and we're talking all about the venture capital environment for new space startups and new entrants to the space market. Keep it here for more.

Now here are the headlines for today. This morning from Kourou, French Guiana, ESA's Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or Juice, successfully launched on an Ariane 5 rocket. About a half hour after launch, ESA teams confirmed separation from the rocket, acquired its first signals from the spacecraft, and confirmed that Juice's solar arrays, which are the largest ever on an interplanetary craft, have deployed in full.

Over the next few weeks, it'll continue deploying onboard instrumentation and then it will begin its inner solar system gravity-assist flybys to build up momentum to slingshot itself to the Jovian system. There, it'll take a look at Jupiter and several of its icy moons, but space is big, of course, so this will all take some time. The first of the four flybys isn't until April next year, and the trek to Jupiter will take eight years in all. So let's put a pin in this story, and we'll get back to you in July 2031 on how things are going. In the meantime, fair solar winds and following seas, so to speak, to Juice.

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission, or CSC, which is a former U.S. Congressional working group turned private think tank, is making a bold statement in a new report today. It's time to designate space systems as critical infrastructure, says the CSC. Here's a part of their official statement. The United States needs a more concerted and coherent approach to risk management and public-private collaboration regarding space systems infrastructure.

After interviewing more than 30 industry and government experts, the authors of this report have concluded that designating space systems as a U.S. critical infrastructure sector would close current gaps and signal both at home and abroad that space security and resilience is a top priority. The report makes a whole host of recommendations to the President, to U.S. Congress, and to the space industry. Gather up the commercial space community, it says, and make a space systems sector coordinating council with C-level executives on board to work together to reduce risks to space assets. It also recommends that industry make good use of the space ISAC, which just opened operations recently. You can read the report in full, and we recommend it, and we have a link on our show notes at space.n2k.com.

Satellite industry consulting group Euroconsult has put out a report of its own, but it's on an entirely different topic. It says that revenues for the universal satellite broadband access market will reach $18 billion by 2031, and that current untapped opportunity for service providers is estimated to be worth about $74 billion, quite a gulf there. Two-thirds of the world now have some kind of broadband internet service, says the report, but 2.6 billion people are still without access, and they are largely in sub-Saharan Africa, India and other parts of Asia, and they represent a huge opportunity for satellite internet providers.

Probably not a big surprise to most of our listeners, but most of the populations without internet access will be hard to reach with terrestrial internet, so satellite can fill this gap with a combination of direct-to-home consumer broadband access, cellular backhaul, and community Wi-Fi access. What's making this increased access more feasible? What else but increased numbers of satellites and satellite constellations and the adoption of high-throughput satellites? Both of these factors are contributing to making satellite internet access more affordable for more people.

More ground segment wars, this one via SatNews. Another provider is expanding their services and today, its Amazon Web Services' own AWS ground station, which says it's making wideband digital intermediate frequency available to its customers. Those customers can then use a software-defined radio of their choice to demodulate and decode downlink data in real time in their Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, slice and dice anyway you like, basically.

Some investment news now on the in-space servicing assembly and manufacturing side of things, or ISAM. Two of the three Northrop Grumman mission extension pods, or MEPs, on its planned 2026 mission robotic vehicle have been spoken for. One is for Intelsat and the other is for Optus. The MEPs will be servicing large satellites in geosynchronous orbit, or GEO, Northrop Grumman has done this kind of work for Intelsat before now, twice actually. The first time was with an old inactive Intelsat satellite, and it gave it another five years of use. The second time was for one that was still in active use. Intelsat is working with other satellite servicing providers, it says, in addition to Northrop, but Northrop is the most far along.

In an interview with CNBC, Senior Vice President Jean-Luc Froeliger says when it comes to ISAM for their assets in GEO anyway, the field of options might be limited. Only 10% of their 56 satellites in the fleet are servicing candidates, he says. Some back-of-the-napkin math there with this recent order from Northrop taken into account, that means there are two, maybe three, Intelsat GEO satellites left that could be serviced depending on how you want to round. There's still one MEP available on the upcoming 2026 mission, by the way, and no word yet on who the buyer is, but it's expected to be announced soon.

Another quick note on Northrop Grumman, they also just cut the ribbon on a new facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It's going to support not just space systems engineering, but it'll also be working on integrated mission operations and cybersecurity services for various US military customers. All these different capabilities, says the company, all need to work together to support what's needed for future space systems.

And a quick follow up to a story from this week about Space Force partnering with the commercial sector. Space Force Chief of Space Operations General B. Chance Saltzman added some important commentary to this point. Specifically, the relationship with the commercial space industry is quote, "one of the most important relationships that we have to make sure we get right." There's a lot of jargon muddying the waters, he says, and also some unclear delineations about what kind of capability Space Force is specifically looking for from the commercial side of things.

He goes on to say this, "Are we talking about the traditional acquisition relationship where the commercial sector builds a satellite and we buy it and we fly? Or are we talking about commercial services more like the way the launch industry provides a service? Are we talking about data? Are we talking about outsourcing functions like collision avoidance in space?" All of these are great questions. "Space Force is working on figuring out answers and optimal solutions to all these issues as they go," said Saltzman, "but they continue to look to the industry to lead the way on what's possible."

Chinese private rocket startup i-Space posted a video showing a successful launch of their four-stage solid rocket, the Hyperbola-1. According to space.com, this is the Hyperbola-1's first successful launch since 2019 after three consecutive launch failures, but it's worth mentioning that the 2019 launch made news for being the first privately funded Chinese company to get a satellite to orbit. This launch marks China's 16th rocket launch of this year. And I should also note that this company should not be confused with the similarly named iSpace of Japan, which is hoping to land its lunar rover soon. The two companies are not the same. i-Space China has a dash between the "i" and the "Space", and the Japanese company does not.

Some news on the people side of things, Viasat has tapped K. Guru Gowrappan as the company's new President. Gowrappan is the former CEO of the Verizon Media Group and has extensive experience in the media and e-commerce sectors. And NASA has announced that its former Director for Mars Exploration, Orlando Figueroa, will be chairing the second independent review of the Mars sample return mission, which is planned for later this decade. It's a super-complex mission to say the least, and Figueroa actually retired in 2010, but he's back for this independent review board. And lastly, speaking of Mars, NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter has officially made its 50th flight on the Red Planet. Congratulations, Ginny.

And that's it for our new stories today. As always, you can get links to all of these stories and our selective reading on our website, space.n2k.com. Stick around now for my interview with Raphael Roettgen who's the founder and partner at E2MC Ventures and host of the Space Business Podcast. We'll be talking about the venture capital environment for new space and SpiderOak's entry to space cybersecurity, and its new funding round. Be right back after this break.

On January 12th, 2023, the space cybersecurity firm SpiderOak announced that it raised $16.4 million in Series C rounds. This funding use comes after a very busy 2022 for SpiderOak, including a contract with the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit to deploy the company's Orbit Secure software, which they describe as a zero-trust protocol to help increase the resilience of space assets from cyberattacks. This is all meant to secure what the Department of Defense calls the hybrid space architecture, which is the increasing mix of commercial and government assets on orbit.

The Space Force and the space industry consensus is that a cyberattack is the most likely and most damaging threat to these assets. Indeed, there's been increasing attention on the state of cybersecurity in space, especially after the February 24th, 2022, Viasat attack and subsequent statements by Russia. They all made it quite clear that assets on orbit, regardless if they're commercial, civil or military, are all very much fair game for cyberattacks. So SpiderOak's funding news had me wondering. Where do cybersecurity firms and other third-party services like it fit in with the overall space economy and the space supply chain? So to find out more, I knew exactly the right person to walk me through it.

>> Raphael Roettgen: So my name is Raphael Roettgen. My main activity is I'm the founder and a partner of a space-focused early-stage venture capital fund, which is called E2MC, which is investing in space companies globally. Well, I should say globally, that's mainly the U.S. and its allies. As we'll probably talk about, space is a very strategic domain, so we have to make this distinction. And I'm also quite active, as you know, Maria, on the space education and outreach side, so I teach at a couple of universities on the space economy, space finance, space entrepreneurship, and I host something, try to host something every week. It's called the Space Business Podcast where we interview space entrepreneurs and other interesting people from the space sector.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yes, and I love your podcast, so I'm strongly recommending our listeners give your podcast a listen. If they want to learn more about the space economy, it's a great place to learn. Thank you so much for joining me and I knew you'd be the perfect person to talk to you about the story I'm working on. I saw that SpiderOak, a space cybersecurity company, got Series C funding, and they've been in the news a lot in 2022. And I think for many of our listeners, this might have been the first time they've even heard about something like space cybersecurity or what's going on with sort of third-party vendors like SpiderOak coming in to support the space economy.

And I was wondering if you could help us understand sort of where SpiderOak fits in the broader picture of the space economy. Is it a sign of maybe increasing maturity of the space economy that they're bringing in a third party like SpiderOak up to do this kind of function? I say this because I know for myself, I would have maybe assumed a few years ago that a function like cybersecurity would be maybe an internal function, but I think that's part of why it surprised me in a good way to hear SpiderOak was moving into space cyber, and that they're getting contracts, and they're, you know, they're certainly doing really well.

>> Raphael Roettgen: Yeah, so I think you're right, exactly right, Maria, with what you're implying. So I think it does- it is sort of a symptom of the space economy developing. I'm not sure I would say mature yet. I think we're still really, really very, very early on, but, of course, you know, sometimes we talk about new space, right? And then new space, of course, implies there's an old space.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yes, yup.

>> Raphael Roettgen: And you know, and your listeners will already know, but what is the old space? Old space is characterized, for example, by things it's like old space is basically done by governments, right, for sort of like very high-value occasional missions. And new space is then like space is being done by private players, sometimes in partnership with governments for commercial applications. So I think you're right. And sort of in the old space domain, probably there wasn't that much scope for necessarily a player like SpiderOak, because a lot of these missions were very integrated, right? Basically, everything from the ground would be called a ground segment up to space. It was sort of all done by the same government players.

>> Maria Varmazis: Like a closed system, right? Yeah, yeah.

>> Raphael Roettgen: Yeah, almost like a closed system. Exactly. And to some extent, you know, that is still happening as well, but, you know, now of course, we have commercial players like SpaceX and many others proliferating --

>> Maria Varmazis: Oh, yeah, up.

>> Raphael Roettgen: -- in the space economy and putting up very useful assets, right, again, whether that's communication satellites or remote sensing sites, and so forth. And, you know, government has, I think, correctly perceived that these commercial assets can be- because they're very efficient, can be used, right? So U.S. DoD is playing about -- is talking about sort of a, you know, a hybrid structure, which is, you know, where you have, okay, you have your sort of DoD on the asset, but then also DoD can use commercially available assets. So what that then means is that suddenly sensitive data is no longer in this closed system, as you describe it. It's running possibly on many different players' infrastructure, right? And that's when really the need comes in to make sure that that data is protected.

>> Maria Varmazis: I was looking at, I think it was the Space Capital Report about 2021 versus 2022 funding. I know you noted this in your podcast as well, your yearend review. You mentioned that it was like a tough funding environment for 2023, which is, you know, not fun for anybody. I was wondering, do we think that maybe, for lack of better term, these supply chain companies like SpiderOak maybe might buck that trend a little bit, like they might have a slightly easier time of it this year? I know I'm asking you to think- I know you don't have a crystal ball, but just I'm just I can't help but wonder. Like, they seem to be having so much ramp-up and success, perhaps they might have an easier time of it compared to larger suppliers, or any thoughts on that, or?

>> Raphael Roettgen: Yeah, and it depends a little bit on sort of what we talk about a funding environment or sort of the operational environment, so getting contracts.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yeah.

>> Raphael Roettgen: But I do consider, you know, something that somebody like SpiderOak is doing, again, I think is a critical activity, and so I would expect them to continue to receive contracts. And again, you know, as very often in space, the government is sort of like an ever-present force, right? And it has some advantages, some disadvantages, but one of the advantages is you do have sort of like a backstop investor and customer of last resort. And, you know, what people like SpiderOak are doing is also very critical for the government. I mean, as you know, SpiderOak, from memory has received several government contracts.

>> Maria Varmazis: Indeed, yes.

>> Raphael Roettgen: I think they're in partnership with what's called the Defense Innovation Unit as well in the U.S.

>> Maria Varmazis: Yes.

>> Raphael Roettgen: So and that provides financial and operational resilience to these companies, right, the fact that the government is there, and so maybe like, while some commercial players may be taking a break or taking things slower, the government is there as a customer, and maybe even as an investor, sometimes. You know what I really like about something like SpiderOak is where if we want to develop the space economy, we really need what I would call interdisciplinary efforts, right, because it is literally like taking, you know, an economy and putting it into this new domain, the space domain.

And so, you know, taking something like cybersecurity, which a lot of work has been done on and on Earth, right, and kind of transferring that to the space domain to help the economy there, that's fantastic. That's exactly what we need, sort of like, you know, people who are experts in one domain applying that knowledge to the space economy. That is exactly what we need to develop the space economy, and there's many examples of that. You know, in my day-to-day job as a venture capitalist, we are looking at many applications where, you know, it's basically all about using space technology to serve some specific customer use case on Earth, and customers which are very typically not space/aerospace customers, but again, they may be insurance companies or mining companies, oil and gas companies, or municipal governments or whatever.

And so this requires an interdisciplinarity, right, where you know about space on the one hand, but you also know about- well, these cases I described, a non-space target sector, on the other hand. So anything like these examples, like SpiderOak, you know, where people who have one expertise take that and help it to develop in the space economy, I think is very positive, and it's precisely what we need to develop the space economy into this like multitrillion dollar economy that everybody wants to have in the next one to two decades.

>> Maria Varmazis: It's a very exciting field, and I'm sure- I hope we've piqued a lot of people's interest, and they'll think about applying their skills to the space economy as well. So yeah, Raphael, thank you so much for speaking with me and sharing this information with our listeners. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

>> Raphael Roettgen: Anytime.

>> Maria Varmazis: We'll be right back after a quick break.

Welcome back. Now before I tell you about our fun story for today, we need to set the right Friday mood. Okay, that's better. Now, no need to blame it on the juice. Instead, you can enjoy the juice while you celebrate Juice's successful launch today, and not just any juice, but hashtag #spacejuice. ESA organized a mocktail recipe competition to celebrate the Juice mission, and people submitted over 70 recipes for judging. Would have loved to be on a judging panel for that one, huh? ESA judges then picked their winners and published them in a gorgeous juice mocktail recipe book (link in our show notes of course). These mocktails are gorgeous and delicious, and again, they're nonalcoholic, though I'm not going to stop you if you want to change that. I'm just saying.

The first prize winner by Margherita Gagnoni is the Europa Geology drink, and here is the recipe, 30% tonic water, 30% coconut water, 20% ginger ale, and 20% apple juice. You add 1/3 teaspoon of blue spirulina to represent ancient algae representing the hopes to find possible life conditions on Jupiter's moon Europa, then a pinch of edible golden sparkling powder to represent the moon's geological activity, a spoon of brown rock crystal sugar for the moon's rocky core and you let it precipitate. Top it with crushed ice, sprinkle with cinnamon powder for the icy moon surface. And for decorations, use sticks with star anise to give the appearance of palm trees at the spaceport in French Guiana. This drink sounds delicious and looks gorgeous. Actually, they all do. I can't we could try some myself. Happy Friday everybody.

And that's it for T-Minus for April 14th 2023. T-Minus is a production of N2K Networks, your source for strategic workforce intelligence. For links to all of today's stories and more, check out our show notes at space.n2k.com. Our theme song is by Elliott Peltzman, mixing by Elliott Peltzman and Tré Hester. Our Executive Producer is Brandon Karpf. And I'm Maria Varmazis. See you Monday.

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