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Space finance bits and bobs.

Series funding updates for Albedo, Latitude and ALDORIA. Lockheed Martin shares annual financial reports. Capella Space partners with Floodbase. And more.




Albedo Space raises $48 million in a Series A round. Latitude has closed a Series B funding round that secured $30 million in new capital. Share My Space has transitioned to ALDORIA, and secured €10M in a Series A funding round, and more.

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T-Minus Guest

We’re working with AWS to bring you an in-depth look at the transformative intersection of cloud computing, space technologies, and generative AI. Today we have a preview of our fourth episode which is due to air on Saturday, AWS in Orbit: Degas in Ghana: Empowering small farming through AI and space technologies. Yohei Nakayama, Chief Technology Officer at Degas Ltd., shares how his company is revolutionizing small farming in Ghana through AWS's cloud, AI, and space technologies. Yohei is joined by AWS Solutions Architect Emma Higashikawa,

Selected Reading

Albedo Raises $48M Series A

Latitude closes $30M Series B

ALDORIA closes €10M Series A Funding

AAC Clyde Space wins SEK 9.9 M Sirius order

Lockheed Martin Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2023 Financial Results

Space stock Intuitive Machines climbs ahead of historic commercial moon-landing mission

Capella Space and Floodbase Partner to Bring High-Resolution SAR Data to Parametric Insurers

Orbex Selected for European Commission and ESA's New Flight Ticket Initiative

Blue Origin joins 2 stages of New Glenn rocket for the 1st time (photo) | Space

Japan’s moonshot may mark breakthrough for future lunar missions - The Japan Times

Dr Tidiane Ouattara Appointed Head of the Science, Technology and Space Division at the AUC

Voyager Space Appoints Marshall Smith as Chief Technology Officer, Member of Starlab Space Board of Directors

Industry report calls for greater use of AI to extract untapped value from satellite data - SpaceNews

USPS Reaches for Final Frontier With New Priority Mail Stamps 

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[MUSIC] It's a few weeks into 2024, so maybe it's a little weird to still be saying happy new year at this juncture.

But for several companies today, it is indeed a very happy new year, with their announcements of new funding rounds.

More money in hand, that's not a bad way to start the year now, is it?

[MUSIC] >> Team, I'm in. >> 20 seconds to LOS, we're in.

>> Open aboard.

[MUSIC] Today is January 23rd, 2024.

I'm Maria Varmausis, and this is T-minus.

[MUSIC] Series funding updates for Albedo, Latitude, and Aldoria.

Hauqid Martin shares annual financial reports.

Capella Space announces a partnership with Floodbase.

And we have a preview today of our AWS in orbit series, Episode 4, called Degas in Ghana, empowering small farming through AI and space technologies.

Join me as I speak to Yohei Nakayama, Chief Technology Officer at Degas, and AWS Solutions Architect, Emma Higashikawa.

[MUSIC] Let's take a look at our Intel briefing for today.

Lots of financial deals to go over for today's show.

And let's start with the funds raised by Earth Observation startup Albedo Space, which today announced a $48 million Series A round.

This Series A was co-led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Shield Capital.

And the new funding will help Albedo develop and test new technologies to support both United States national defense and mitigating climate change.

All with, as the company says, sites set on delivering exquisite imagery to our customers and the impact it will have on our world.

France-based launch company Latitude has closed a Series B funding round that secured it $30 million in new capital.

Latitude has designed the light space launcher Zephyr, which is scheduled for its maiden launch in 2025.

So far, Latitude has conducted two tests for its 3D printed rocket engine, and will use the new funding to support the manufacturing of its first vehicle.

The company says that this new funding will support Zephyr's design, as well as secure the operational and industrial groundwork for the first launch.

Latitude says the light launcher will be able to carry 200 kilos of payload by 2028.

And staying in France, Share My Space has transitioned to the company Aldoria, a former name of the Pleiades Nebula.

The space situational awareness company has also announced that it closed a Series A funding round, securing 10 million euros in equity investments.

The new funding brings a total amount of investment in the company to 22 million euros to date.

The capital will be used to support the company's development and strengthen its brand.

And staying in Europe, and Sweden-based AAC Clyde Space has secured an order valued at 900,000 euros for its serious range of computers and services.

The client, which we're told is a repeat customer for the group, has opted to remain unnamed.

The order is planned for delivery during the fourth quarter of 2024.

Aerospace and Defense Company Lockheed Martin has reported its fourth quarter 2023 results.

The company shared that although their net sales were at $18.9 billion, a slight decline compared to the $19 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, the company's annual performance overall is up.

Lockheed reported net sales in 2023 at $67.6 billion, compared to $66 billion in the previous year.

Lockheed Martin, Chairman, President and CEO Jim Teichelit, said in a statement that the solid finish to 2023 and full-year results reflect a continued strong demand for our all-domain portfolio of advanced defense tech solutions.

Backlog reached a record $160.6 billion, and sales increased 2% year-over-year to $67.6 billion.

And I promise this is our last financial update for today.

One company capitalizing on all the lunar buzz of late is Intuitive Machines.

The Houston-based company has seen a surge in their stock ahead of next month's planned mission to the moon.

Thanks to the Astrobotic Missions anomaly, Intuitive Machines are now set to be the first U.S. company to conduct a commercial lunar payload services mission.

All the fingers crossed.

Capella Space has announced a partnership with Floodbase, a leading data provider and reporting agent for parametric flood insurance, to bring high-resolution SAR satellite data to floodbases and end solution for parametric flood insurance.

This partnership will enable enhanced payout trigger certification of parametric insurance products.

And if you're like me and don't know what parametric flood insurance means, that means if there's a certain flood level, the insurance will trigger.

Okay, so this partnership will enable enhanced payout trigger certification of parametric insurance products by capturing the magnitude of flooding at high resolution and regardless of cloud cover.

Floodbase and Capella Space say that they share a commitment to using Earth observation science and machine learning to enable all communities to prepare for and respond to climate disasters.

And some news out of the 16th European Space Conference in Brussels.

Scotland-based Orbex has been selected for the European Commission and European Space Agency's Flight Ticket Initiative.

The initiative was designed to give promising technology and service concepts the in-orbit testing needed to reach commercial maturity.

And under the scheme, ESA and the EU will co-fund upcoming flights of European launch vehicles or small satellites in a ready-to-fly condition.

Blue Origin has mated the two stages of its New Glenn rocket for the first time.

Jeff Bezos' company shared the pictures on the social media platform X, along with the caption stating, "The reason for the mating is to exercise our tooling and stage interfaces in preparation for our first launch later this year."

The two-stage New Glenn will stand 322 feet tall and be able to haul 50 tons to low Earth orbit. [music] And that concludes our briefing for today.

Stay with us for a preview of our AWS in orbit, Episode 4 on Empowering Small Farming through AI and Space Technologies.

You can find links to further reading on all the headlines I've mentioned in our show notes.

And today, we've added a piece from Japan on SLIM, announcements of new positions at the African Union for the head of science and technology, and "Advoyage or Space."

And we've also added a piece covering a Deloitte report on the use of AI and satellite data.

It's really interesting.

You will also find these stories and more at space.ntuk.com.

Hey T-minus crew, if you're just joining us, be sure to follow T-minus Space Daily in your favorite podcast app.

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Thank you so much for your support.

It means a lot to me and all of us here at T-minus.

[Music] And we have a preview of our AWS in orbit series, Episode 4, "Degas in Ghana, Empowering Small Farming Through AI and Space Technologies."

Our guests are Yohei Nakayama, Chief Technology Officer at Degas and AWS Solutions Architect, Emma Higashikawa.

Yohei started by telling me about what Degas does.

[Music] Our mission is changing people's lives dramatically.

So the time people here is specifically refers to African farmers.

And what we are doing is like Degas platform is providing financial opportunities with farmers and implementing data-driven precision farming.

So let me explain a little bit financing part first.

So it's like in-kind financing.

So specifically we purchase fertilizers and seeds from major agrarian companies and provide them as a loan to farmers.

And after the financing part, we start the precision farming part with the farmers.

So at Degas, we are hiring around 100 agents across Ghana and the agents work together with the farmers to grow their crops in an optimized way.

And because of that, the land productivity greatly increases and eventually the income of the farmers are increasing.

So that's what Degas is doing basically.

I would love to know a little bit more about specifically how Degas is achieving this mission using AI and space-based data.

How does that come into play?

Yes, so basically to realize this business, we are developing two main data streams.

One is coming from ground.

So our agents are using our in-house Android application and it's like boost on the ground data collection.

So all interactions with farmers and agents are done with the app and agents collect detailed information of every farmer from, for example, their name to farmland polygons.

And the main second data stream is coming from the Earth observation.

We are collecting many types of observation data, like both optical and radar satellite observation data, and to analyze the farmlands.

Basically, the two data streams forms data lake on the cloud and we are using the data lake to analyze the farmland and create machine learning models.

For example, the machine learning models is like for detecting floods or drought or calculate farmers credit or predicting yields.

Basically, welcome to Ghana.

The mobile network is not stable and electric system is not stable.

And how to access like high quality of fertilizers and seeds, which is a little bit lacking.

So we are developing farmers credit to provide financing opportunities.

So that's one challenging part.

And how to scale our business, which is also challenging.

So for that, we are developing our in-house under the barricade.

As I stated, and for that, we are collecting tons of data to calculate the credit.

All right.

So we're talking about large amounts of data.

How is that being processed?

Is that something that Degas is doing?

Is that something that you needed help with?

What's happening there?

So for example, there is one operation called farm mapping.

So at the operation, for example, farm agent go to the farmland with the farmer and work around the farmland.

And then the Android application collects the series of locations where the agent worked.

And we can get the figure of the farmland.

And the data is sent to the cloud.

And on the cloud, we map our observation data to the polygon and calculate, for example, vegetation index to check the farmland and the status of the farmland.

And that's how we are merging local data to observation data.

So let's talk a bit about the big picture.

The motivation for Degas to be in Ghana, to be in Africa, and help solve these incredibly difficult challenges.

Let's set the stage.

What are the challenges there, especially in the face of climate change?

I'm Aishina Shikawa, and I'm a solutions architect on the aerospace and satellite team at AWS.

And what that means is I support space industry customers in achieving their missions through designing and implementing solutions on AWS.

So Africa compromises approximately 17% of the world population, although it only contributes actually less than 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

But despite that, Africa is already contending with some of the harshest impacts of climate change.

That includes extreme heat, drought, desertification, flooding, and that really heavily impacts, especially agriculture and food production.

And this is especially devastating in Africa because more than 60% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa are smallholder farmers.

That means a majority of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods.

And of course, this contributes to growing food insecurity, displacement, and conflict in the region.

There's a phrase that came up a number of times about regenerative agriculture.

Yohei, could you walk me through what regenerative agriculture means?

Yes, so regenerative agriculture has a lot of definitions, but basically it's a way of agriculture which can issue carbon credit.

So it has two meanings, which is it's sustainable, sustainable way, and at the same time, it reduces CO2 emission.

So we are doing regenerative agriculture with the farmers, and it's a little bit difficult or complicated way, but using our Android application and the chatbot, we are expanding this regenerative agriculture in Africa.


Okay, so we have this incredibly sophisticated chatbot that runs on a large amount of data and also uses a large language model, if I understand this, and also runs on an AWS service.

Emma, could you walk me through a little bit about that, please?

So the chatbot that Degas is currently building runs on Amazon Bedrock.

And Amazon Bedrock is a service AWS recently announced that lets customers easily build and scale generative AI applications in AWS.

And the first thing is through Bedrock, AWS offers access to a number of high performing foundation models or FMs, and all this through a single API.

Currently, Bedrock provides FMs from Amazon as well as from leading AI providers like AI21 Labs, Anthropic, Coher, Meta, and Stability AI, all through a single pane of glass API.

And there's two, I think, key features of Bedrock that Degas has really leveraged in the solution we're discussing today.

And the first one is the ability to easily experiment with and compare the performances of different foundational models for a specific use case.

And the second one is the ability to create custom solutions integrating existing AWS services and also using your own proprietary data in AWS with techniques such as retrieval augmented generation or RAG.

And especially to the second point, I think Degas's solution is very exciting because it leverages the power of other AWS services like Kendra for searching scientific papers and agricultural journals, also retrieving like farmer metadata from RDS and RDS database, and also Athena to leverage and search Degas's existing dataset in S3.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the credit scoring model because I'm seeing 1.2 million data points and that is incredible.

I don't want to skip that.

Yohei, could you talk a little bit about that model because those are a lot of data points.

Yeah, there are a lot of data points.

And with that, we are calculating farmers credit, which is our core technology because with that, we can provide financing opportunities to the farmer.

And how we calculate, it's totally related to their yield, right?

Because it's directly related to their income.

So the credit model consists of, for example, yield prediction model.

At the same time, we are calculating the land risk, for example, predicting flood or drought.

And at the same time, we are checking the farmer is diligent or not.

On the ground, the agents score the farmer's farmland, for example, scoring the distance of the seas or checking how to apply our fertilizers to the farmland.

So all the kind of things are also digitized and collected.

We are calculating credit using the ground data and our observations.

And join us on Saturday for the full conversation with Yohei and Emma on empowering small farming through AI and space technologies.

We'll be right back.

Welcome back.

If like me, you sent out every Christmas card with a web stamp, and yes, I may be the only person who still does Christmas cards, whatever.

There are two new stamps that USPS is adding to the web collection.


Two new priority mail stamps that are available as of yesterday, January 22nd, feature the web images taken of the gorgeous Cosmic Cliffs and the Pillars of Creation.

So Cosmic Cliffs was one of the first five images from web, the super famous one, taken with web's Nurcam of the Korean Nebula, a mere 7,600 light years away, and has those stunning and fantastic blues, browns, orange and reds with the webby 6-pointed starburst throughout.

And the Pillars of Creation image was actually a very famous one in the Hubble years, you might remember, and the new take from web from its MiriCam has the greenish and blue pillars set against the red and black.

Both images are super stunning, and I bet they would look lovely on your priority mail.

So, philatelists, now you know.

And yes, any excuse to say the word philatelists.


[Music] That's it for T-minus for January 23rd, 2024.

For additional resources from today's report, check out our show notes at space.ntuk.com We're privileged that NTK and podcasts like T-minus are part of the daily routine of many of the most influential leaders and operators in the public and private sector.

From the Fortune 500 to many of the world's preeminent intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

This episode was produced by Alice Caruth, mixing by Elliot Peltzman and Trey Hester, with original music and sound design by Elliot Peltzman.

Our executive producer is Jen Iben.

Our VP is Brandon Karpf.

And I'm Maria Varmausis.

Thanks for listening.

We'll see you tomorrow.

[Music] T-minus.


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