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Space Data Start-Up Raises $1.3M from Angels, Crowdfunding

ArduSat illustration (NanoSatisfi)

ArduSat illustration (NanoSatisfi)

NanoSatisfi, a start-up company in San Francisco offering low-priced space-based data services, raised $1.2 million in seed capital, to go along with more than $100,000 collected last summer through crowdfunding. The company announced the funding round yesterday on Twitter, with details reported on the technology and business news Web site TechCrunch.

Anthony Ha of TechCrunch reports that NanoSatisfi raised the $1.2 million from individual investors on AngelList, an online marketplace bringing together angel investors and start-up enterprises. The company raised its first funds through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that ended in July 2012; it aimed for $35,000 and ended up with more than $106,000 from 676 backers.

NanoSatisfi aims to provide on-demand access to space satellites at an affordable price. The company designed its ArduSat project around CubeSat nanosatellites — 10 centimeter cubes weighing about a kilogram — that offer a standard platform for the technology. CubeSat payloads are included in American and European space launches, the most recent in September 2012 with an Atlas V rocket sent from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The ArduSat cubes include contain some 25 sensors, three cameras, and instruments including a Geiger counter, spectrometer, and magnetometer. The system’s processors are built on the Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform, thus the ArduSat name. Customers write their own applications software to run on the platform and gather data from space. NanoSatisfi says it will provide templates for code writers, and will test any submitted software before launch.

Company co-founder Peter Platzer tells TechCrunch’s Ha that NanoSatisfi will first aim for school science experiments, including serving as hosts of a summer academy to get students designing and writing applications. The company plans to price its services at $250 a week, and later expand to more industrial and commercial data services. The first scheduled launch of its satellites is 15 July, piggybacking on a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

The following video from the company’s Kickstarter campaign tells more about ArduSat.

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