The art of creating something from nothing is what startups know best. They take the old way of doing business and turn it on its head, finding creative solutions to solve some of the toughest problems, leading to innovative disruption.

From launch to in-space services, this innovation is happening rapidly in space. The commercialization of low-Earth orbit (LEO) in the past decade has fueled the emergence of many space startups. We have entered an interesting time where new technologies developed by these startups are paving the way for future space exploration.

The “2022 Startup Space: Update on Investment in Commercial Space Ventures” report by Bryce Tech  shows that startup space ventures attracted over $15 billion in total financing during 2021, breaking the $7.7 billion record set in 2020. In addition, 2021 was a record-setting year for the number of startup space deals. In 2021, 10 space startups went public via special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), raising nearly $4 billion.

According to the report, NASA’s Artemis program, which seeks to return humans to the Moon by 2025, creates significant opportunities for startup companies. Several major missions to the Moon are expected to take place, including Artemis II and III, and others supported by startups.

NASA’s Artemis program will continue to provide onramps and opportunities throughout the decade as NASA aims to create a sustainable lunar presence. Startups can also increase readiness of their technologies through lunar-focused Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards and other initiatives.

In addition to lunar exploration and LEO constellations, launch vehicles, small satellites, on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing, as well as national security will likely remain ground for opportunities for innovative startups. Several companies are planning important technical demonstrations and others are promising an expansion of operations. The revenue dynamics and operational performance of maturing startup space firms, according to the report, are important trends to watch in startup space.

In the 2023 space survey of 60 space executives conducted by Deloitte to understand how space companies are viewing and working toward the future of space development, 82 percent of senior executives said that innovation in the space market is a priority for their organization.

Innovation, according to Deloitte’s space survey , has made it more cost-effective to develop new space systems and launch payloads into space, which in turn has enabled a wider range of organizations to participate in the space sector. The development of SmallSats and CubeSats have particularly increased the interest of private companies and government agencies investing in this field, as it allows for more affordable access to space and new business models.

Deloitte predicts that as the space market expands, the role of private companies in the space market will likely increase in the next decade. Ninety-eight percent of senior executives surveyed said that the role of private companies in the space market will likely expand due to emerging trends, such as space data services and in space manufacturing. Going forward, more private companies are likely to bring capital, which can help the sector grow and start to execute ambitious programs. And although many segments in the space sector are still evolving, the sector could experience faster adoption in less than a decade.

As startups continue to make strides into space and beyond, this article spotlights 10 fast-growing startups (in no particular order) that are poised to disrupt space by bringing new innovations to market. The areas these startups are making an impact on include launch vehicles, infrastructure and manufacturing, in-space services, sustainability, communications, software, and data analytics.


Year Founded: 2017

Location: Cedar Park, TX

CEO: Bill Weber

An end-to-end space transportation company focused on developing a family of launch vehicles, in-space vehicles, and services. Firefly’s launch vehicles, combined with its inspace vehicles, such as the Space Utility Vehicle and Blue Ghost Lunar Lander, provide the space industry with a single source for missions from LEO to the surface of the Moon and beyond. The company was recently awarded a $112 million NASA contract to deliver multiple lunar payloads in 2026. As Firefly’s second task order won under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, the company will use its Blue Ghost spacecraft in a two-stage configuration to first place a satellite into lunar orbit and then deliver two research payloads on the far side of the Moon. Firefly’s first mission, Blue Ghost Mission 1, is on track for launch in 2024 and will deliver payloads to Mare Crisium, a low-lying basin on the Moon’s near side.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2015

Location: Los Angeles, CA

CEO: Tim Ellis

The first company to 3D print rockets, Relativity invented a new approach to design, print, and fly its own rockets, starting with the world’s first 3D-printed rocket, Terran 1, and then Terran R, a larger, fully reusable, 3D-printed launch vehicle. Most rockets today rely on additive manufacturing, but 85 percent of Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket is fabricated with this process. By fusing 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and autonomous robotics, the company is pioneering the factory of the future. In March 2023, Terran 1, a 110-foot-tall vehicle designed to haul lightweight satellites into orbital space, had a semi-successful launch when it lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida but failed to reach orbit. Relativity Space has been selected by NASA as one of 12 companies to provide launch services for the agency’s Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2015

Location: San Francisco, CA

CEO: John Gedmark

Astranis is building small, low-cost telecommunications satellites to connect the four billion people who currently do not have access to the Internet. Each spacecraft operates from geostationary orbit (GEO) with a next-generation design of only 400 kg, utilizing a proprietary software-defined radio payload. This digital payload technology allows frequency and coverage flexibility, as well as maximum use of valuable spectrum. By owning and operating its satellites and offering them to customers as a turnkey solution, Astranis can provide bandwidth-as-a-service and unlock previously unreachable markets. This allows Astranis to launch small, dedicated satellites for small and medium-sized countries, Fortune 1000 companies, telcos, and other customers. Astranis has successfully launched a test satellite into orbit and is now underway with its first commercial program — a satellite to provide broadband Internet for Alaska that will more than triple the available bandwidth across the state.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2021

Location: Seattle, WA

CEO: Colin Doughan

A next-generation hardware company that designs and manufactures large space structures for human life in space, bringing high-quality shipyard-style fabrication to the aerospace industry. Gravitics emerged from stealth with $20 million in seed funding in November 2022 and plans to build space station modules. Its main offering will be a super-sized module known as StarMax. The general-purpose module would provide up to 400 cubic meters (14,000 cubic feet) of usable habitable volume — which represents nearly half of the pressurized volume of the International Space Station. To support development and early production, Gravitics opened a new 42,000-square-foot facility north of Seattle in 2022. The company has already begun assembly of its first StarMax prototype and is preparing to conduct module pressure tests in early 2023 with plans for an upcoming orbital test mission to be announced soon.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2021

Location: Lafayette, CO

CEO: Sebastian Asprella

A space infrastructure developer, building large, scalable, and cost-efficient space platforms. These platforms are built through autonomous in-space welding, robotics, and large metal panel manufacturing. The spherical ThinkPlatform provides a large volume, protected from orbital debris and thermal effects, to accommodate ISAM activities, habitation for astronaut missions, and tourism. These platforms, which are configured for a single launch and assembled autonomously in orbit, can support multiple space missions. The platforms can scale up to deliver 4,000 cubic meters of internal volume in space through a single launch — that’s four times the volume of the International Space Station — able to support Active Debris Remediation (ADR) missions, among other use cases. The company also plans to use a combination of the robotic arm and an electron beam welding gun for universal space assembly.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2016

Location: Menlo Park, CA

CEO: Daniel Ceperley

LeoLabs provides critical mapping and space situational awareness services to help secure safe and sustainable operations in LEO. It uses proprietary radars to remotely detect and track orbital debris in LEO. It’s globe-spanning network of ground-based, phased array radars keeps track of the thousands of operational satellites, defunct satellites, spent rocket bodies, and pieces of debris in orbit around the Earth. The radars are steered electronically with no moving parts, making them reliable with multi-decade operational lifetimes. LeoLabs’ tracking system can detect debris as small as 2-cm across, as opposed to the much larger 10-cm objects tracked by legacy detection systems. It has two radars housed at each site in Alaska, Texas, Costa Rica, the Azores, New Zealand, and Australia. The company recently selected a site in Argentina for its next ground radar for remotely identifying and tracking objects in space.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2017

Location: El Segundo, CA

CEO: Melanie Stricklan

Slingshot Aerospace builds space simulation, data, and ducts that help worldwide commercial, civil, and defense organizations make space operations safer to accelerate space sustainability. The company synthesizes data from multiple trusted sources, including the newly acquired Global Sensor Network and the Seradata SpaceTrak database, to bring the space domain into the digital environment. Slingshot Beacon de-risks conjunctions and saves operators time with the industry’s first two-sided communication and collaboration platform. With these insights, Slingshot Aerospace customers are empowered to confidently make decisions and achieve clarity in the complexity of the space domain. Its decision intelligence technologies bring together heavy data streams from different sources, such as satellites, ground-based sensors, and more to create decisive context for organizations.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2020

Location: Laconia, NH

CEO: Jeromy Grimmett

An in-space services and manufacturing startup designs satellite vehicles and subsystems to provide on-orbit services to satellite operators. The team is building a fleet of Orbital Robots (Orbots™) that will perform a variety of services for orbital assets in LEO, MEO, and GEO including inspection, maintenance, repair, transport, and more. Rogue’s Orbot™ fleet is supported by AI-Enabled Sensory Observation Platform (AESOP), which positions the Orbots near the target satellite automatically and automatically takes decisions to make sure the target satellite can be serviced safely. Collision prevention and proximity tracking are key features of AESOP where all sensors on the spacecraft are aggregated into a decision matrix that ensures safe operations in space. The company has successfully delivered its first payload to satellite bus partner EnduroSat and also successfully completed preliminary design reviews for two of its Orbots™ spacecraft.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2019

Location: Seattle, WA

CEO: Austin Link

Starfish is building an on-demand fleet of versatile space tugs prepared to service on-orbit satellites. Its servicing vehicles can hook up with bigger satellites for either extending life or removing debris. The space tug tech could eventually be used as autonomous in-orbit robots for a whole range of purposes including mining, manufacturing, and recycling in space. Starfish is building a fleet of vehicles called Otters, which will be able to dock with any satellite for on-orbit servicing in conjunction with the Nautilus capture mechanism that attaches to satellites for docking and manipulation. CEPH-ALOPOD, autonomous RPOD software providing guidance, navigation, and control capability can give small servicing vehicles eight times more maneuvering capability. In 2021, Starfish won a $1.7 million Phase II SBIR contract from the U.S. Space Force for the continued development of the Cephalopod software and closed a $14 million Series A in March 2023 to speed up development of the first commercial Otter vehicles.

For more information visit here .


Year Founded: 2019

Location: La Canada Flintridge, CA

CEO: David Spencer

Vestigo advances sustainability of the orbital environment by providing deorbit capability for CubeSats, small satellites, and launch vehicle upper stages. Vestigo’s dragsails are designed to enable the timely deorbit of space vehicles. Dragsails are thin-membrane deployable structures that greatly increase the frontal area of the system, so that aerodynamic drag can accelerate orbital decay. The “Spinnaker” product line utilizes standard mechanical and electrical interfaces to the host satellite, allowing straightforward integration. The dragsails can be deployed on command or via a backup timer, providing reliable deorbit capability even if the host vehicle is inoperative. Spinnaker dragsails are sized to enable the host vehicle to meet regulatory guidelines for deorbit duration. Currently, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission mandates deorbit from LEO within 25 years of end-of-mission.

For more information visit here .