9 companies to watch in Israeli space technology

In December, we brought you a story on how to do just that 2023 is likely to be the year that space technology takes off in Israel. Now we focus on some of the best companies to watch in this space.

Since the first lunar lander in Israel has crashed On the moon in April 2019, space captured the imagination of Israel’s tech industry.

the Start-Up Nation Central Today, the advisory group includes about 50 companies and academic institutions active in the Israeli space technology industry. Here we take a look at nine of the most promising startups.

1. Space Pharma

Space Pharma Develops drugs in outer space.

“The lack of gravity on the particles means we can run our tests easier and faster, so the results are better,” Vitaly Rokin, project manager and engineer at SpacePharma, tells ISRAEL21c.

The company has conducted experiments on the International Space Station, and two years ago, jointly with the Italian Space Agency, launched autonomous satellites with a “closed box” in the atmosphere kept at body temperature. The system is controlled remotely by Space Pharma employees on the ground.

9 companies to watch in Israeli space technology
Vitaly Rokin, Project Manager and Engineer at SpacePharma. Image provided by Space Pharma

The trials have looked at producing the most effective calcium supplement, the effects of radiation on dna, and how microgravity might affect it. Antibiotic resistanceand whether zero gravity makes cultured meat tastier.

Israeli astronaut Ethan Step He brought a four-kilogram, shoebox-sized SpacePharma lab to the International Space Station.

“You just need to plug it in to power and connect,” Rokin explains. “I waited until he got back in Florida to get him back.” SpacePharma is also planning trials on Beresheet 2component that revolves around.

2. Helios

9 companies to watch in Israeli space technology
Artists’ rendering of an oxygen production, liquefaction and storage facility on the Moon. Image courtesy of Helios.

If humans are going to live on other planets, they will need food and air.

An Israeli startup in the field of space technology Helios It is developing a technology to produce oxygen for fuel – and eventually for breathing as well – entirely from lunar soil to avoid the enormous cost of transporting oxygen from Earth.

Fuel is, in some ways, more important than making breathing oxygen, as the higher the payload, the more fuel is required. Frequent visits to the Moon by private space companies like SpaceX would require thousands of tons of oxygen annually to be used as rocket propellant.

Helios will reach the moon from 2025 via the LSAS lunar landing system, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and OHB in Germany.

“Oxygen will be the most desirable consumable in space because it makes up more than 60% of the mass of any fully loaded spacecraft destined for lunar missions and beyond,” said Jonathan Gifman, co-founder and CEO of Helios.

The technology essentially “melts” lunar soil at 1,600 degrees Celsius and then, through electrolysis, generates stored oxygen for use.

3. CSpace

CSpace It is one of several startups I have incubated Starburst Aerospace. The company aims to create an “observation center” that looks at Earth using telescopes mounted on nanosatellites.

Amateur astronomers who can’t afford a $10,000 telescope will be able to hone their hobby by paying CSpace a monthly subscription fee of about $10.

The company raised $7.5 million just five months after it joined Starburst. “This is a good indication that the model is working and that we are delivering value,” Starburst Managing Director Noemi Alliel tells ISRAEL21c.

4. Ramon. space

Ramon space It develops flexible and radiation-resistant space software and hardware as well as supercomputers for the space sector.

These systems can be used to develop and update applications in real time in space, creating new possibilities for satellite payloads and deep space missions.

9 companies to watch in Israeli space technology
Avi Shabtai, CEO, Ramon.Space. Photo by David Scurry

The company’s artificial intelligence and machine learning-based technology is already being used in satellites and on more than 50 space missions.

The Ramon.space program allows satellites to communicate directly instead of going through an intermediate ground station. Satellites can receive post-launch upgrades and maintenance, which extends the life, functionality, and usefulness of the satellite.

Ramon.space is collaborating with another Israeli space technology startup, Lulav. spaceTo provide an advanced navigation system for the Beresheet 2 lunar mission.

5. Brain. space

9 companies to watch in Israeli space technology
Image courtesy of Brain.space

When astronaut Eitan Stebi blasted off to the International Space Station earlier this year, he wore a helmet equipped with EEG monitoring equipment from an Israeli startup. brain space.

“We know that the microgravity environment affects physiological indicators in the body,” says CEO Yair Levy. “So, it’s potentially affecting the brain and we’d like to monitor that.”

Astronauts have long collected data on their hearts, skin, and muscles in space, but no one has yet measured brain activity. Brain.space’s EEG helmet contains 460 “airbrushes” that attach to the scalp. Astronauts are required to do various tasks for 20 minutes a day. The data is uploaded to a laptop computer at the space station.

Brain.space has already proven its system on Earth; The company will now compare the EEG data to see any differences in brain activity between Earth and space. In this regard, Levy points out, “space is an accelerator.”

Brain.space has raised $8.5 million and is working with the Department of Cognitive and Brain Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

6. The voting wheel

9 companies to watch in Israeli space technology
Aerospace engineering student Dana Weissler prototypes the AstroRad anti-radiation vest. Photo by Ran Yehezkel with permission from StemRad

If protecting humans from radiation is important on Earth, it is even more important in space. vote It develops high-tech protective gear that reduces risks to astronauts (as well as first responders, military personnel, and medical teams working close to home).

In 2018, StemRad signed an agreement with NASA to test the Israeli company Flexible polyethylene jackets in the space. The AstroRad vest, which protects bone marrow and other organs rich in stem cells in the abdominal and pelvic regions, was developed jointly with Lockheed Martin.

Typical radiation levels in low Earth orbit can be 100 times greater than the background levels experienced by people living in Earth’s tropics. Furthermore, it can be particularly harmful to women, as radiation disproportionately affects the breasts and ovaries. Because the StemRad jacket specifically protects these organs, it could enable the first woman to travel to — and walk on — the moon safely.

Despite being bulky (ranging from six to 65 centimeters deep depending on the area of ​​the body the jacket protects), the StemRad jacket is light and flexible enough to be worn while on regular missions on long missions deep in the solar system, the company claims.

7. AccuBeat

Based in Jerusalem AccuBeat It builds small, accurate clocks for deep space missions as well as for defense applications such as radar, intelligence gathering, and missile detection. (AccuBeat is part of Israel iron dome the system.)

The company’s ultra-stable oscillator is expected to be accurate to 10 to the minus 14th power of a second in space — “a million times more than our clocks,” says CEO Penny Levy.

What’s more, AccuBeat says its hours will still run out 15 years down the road. Accordingly, the AccuBeat system has been selected to run a mission to Jupiter’s moons that will take at least seven years to reach.

Atomic clocks aren’t just for telling the time. To provide secure radio transmissions that cannot be hacked or crowded by enemies requires high-accuracy clock synchronization. The reverse is also true: AccuBeat technology can help the military triangulate enemy radar and locate enemy missiles.

On Earth, GPS systems include an atomic clock that transmits a signal from the Earth to the satellite to synchronize the exact time. Without it, pirates could “spoof” the GPS, causing a pilot or ship captain to veer off course. AccuBeat has installed over 100 clocks from Hawaii to China.

8. Space Plasmatics

About 14,000 small satellites are expected to be launched into space by the end of the decade. Each will need small rockets. This is the place The space Enter.

The company is developing “plasma thrusters” — electrically powered rockets, no bigger than a finger — that draw their energy from solar cells. A second, stronger version of the product, about the size of a tennis ball.

The company was founded in 2021 based on technology developed by CEO Yigal Cronhaus while at the Technion.

“Plasma is the fourth state of matter,” Cronhaus explained to the Israeli publication CTech. It is a very hot ionized gas, electrons being torn from the atoms. This results in a gaseous mixture with freely moving electrons and ions.”

Space plasma thrusters first generate plasma from the propellant and then accelerate ions through an electric field to produce thrust.

These solar-powered thrusters may be able to address the “space junk” problem by placing a small rocket on microsatellites, enabling their Earthbound operators to maneuver them out of the way.

The six-person company hopes to have its product ready for an in-orbit demonstration in the next two years.

9. WeSpace Technologies

9 companies to watch in Israeli space technology
The bouncy robot can fly across the difficult terrain of the moon. Image courtesy of WeSpace

Once we get to the Moon or Mars, we will need vehicles to help us explore the surface. WeSpace It is developing thrust-driven flying robots, known as “hoppers,” to get us from here to there over an alien landscape.

Less than 5% of the lunar surface has been surveyed. Ground vehicles have difficulty on some very steep and rugged terrains. Also, ground vehicles do not have the speed, mobility, and connectivity to travel long distances.

WeSpace’s solution: Fly, don’t drive. The hopper independently maps much larger regions of the lunar surface and can even explore underground lava tubes and tunnels.

WeSpace believes it can stimulate the nascent space economy by providing “moon exploration as a service,” selling data collected by its hoppers to interested parties on Earth. Yigal Harel, WeSpace’s chief technology officer, was formerly the Beresheet lunar lander program manager.

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