The Sky Is No Longer the Limit - Innovative Space Technologies
Authors: Shir Groisman, Business Development Associate and Sapir Bettan, Programs Coordinator, International Collaboration Division, Israel Innovation Authority.
2020 may have been a rough year for all of us, but innovative technologies continue to thrive. Space industry has brought to our lives new trends with the goal of improving movement, operations, and communications between Earth and space.
One of the top trends of 2021 is the development of miniaturized satellites. Startups develop small satellites that enable space companies to conduct missions that large satellites typically struggle with. This technology allows for cheaper designs and advancements in industrial technologies to enable mass production.
Space manufacturing is another leading trend, where innovative technologies are used to improve space products and services. Startups use advanced robotics, 3D printing and light-based manufacturing to enable a reality where reusable launch vehicles, space shuttles and satellite sensors are accessible.
The Israel Innovation Authority together with Space Florida organization, the aerospace development authority of Florida, are operating a joint funding program for bilateral collaboration in R&D and pilots between Israeli and US technology companies in the fields of aerospace, aeronautics, and related areas. This program, running for the 8th consecutive year, received many applications for its latest call for proposals and has recently published this round's winners.
Over the years, many projects participating in the program bore fruit. In 2015, the Israeli company StemRad and the US company Lockheed Martin collaborated to assist astronauts protect themselves on their space exploration missions. These missions address fundamental questions about our life on Earth and deal with challenges related to human findings on space. The companies received a grant from the Innovation Authority and Space Florida and their joint project was supported by the Israeli Space Agency (ISA) as well. The companies developed AstroRad - a vest meant to provide a solution to one of the greatest challenges of deep space missions – the radiation erupting from the sun, that can endanger astronauts while on their missions to the Moon, paving their way for human exploration of Mars. In November 2019, the first AstroRad test vest was launched to the International Space Station. The vest is intended for women and is expected to be used by the US astronaut Shannon Walker in 2024 on her mission.
Israel Innovation Authority is proud to support innovative tech companies like StemRad and will continue to promote space related technologies that perform exceptional R&D projects with a potential to gain more knowledge about space.
Please look for more updates from the Innovation Authority and for the next round of the call for proposals to this program, opening in 2022.