The Space Business Catalyst

Industry support for intrapreneurial projects and cooperation with startups in the space sector

The Space Business Catalyst

Industry support for intrapreneurial projects and cooperation with startups in the space sector

What is the Space Business Catalyst?

The Space Business Catalyst is an initiative led by Thales Alenia Space’s Innovation Cluster to support the emergence of new markets and players in the space sector. This industry accelerator aims to shape and develop the space ecosystem of the future in collaboration with the best startups.

Currently based at the company’s Toulouse and Turin sites, the Space Business Catalyst is capitalizing on the experience gained with our Innovation Cluster and is already hosting its first intrapreneurial projects and startups. Offering technical, commercial and financial support through two levels of coaching, the accelerator hosts startups from all over the world, drawing on Thales Alenia Space’s geographic footprint in Europe and the United States.

Through collaborations with partner startups and in-house projects, the Space Business Catalyst aims to shape the space disruptions of tomorrow. Its holistic approach makes our company a true spearhead of NewSpace at the intersection where the worlds of major companies and startups meet.

white catalyst label

The Space Business Catalyst is perfectly in line with Thales Alenia Space's Space For Life vision. Some of its projects pay particular attention to the development of a sustainable space. Projects relating to modular space infrastructures or the contribution of space to sustainable finance are just a few examples.

If you’re a startup and would like to submit a project for collaboration with Thales Alenia Space as part of the Space Business Catalyst, please contact:

Supported by our Innovation Cluster

Created in 2014, the Innovation Cluster aims to spawn disruptive industrial, technical and business concepts at Thales Alenia Space and foster an entrepreneurial mindset across the company. The Cluster is a pivotal part of our company’s transformation strategy, spurring a greater focus on innovation and with the aim of stimulating intrapreneurship and creativity.

Within the company, the Innovation Cluster fosters a culture of innovation and supports the emergence of new ideas. It incubates and accelerates innovative projects based on medium-term strategic issues on the same principle as startups. For example, it has enabled the launch of an edge computing demonstration in space with Microsoft to help Thales Alenia Space prepare its strategic positioning in this segment.

Outside the company, the Cluster has deployed an open innovation approach, meaning it fosters innovation with other partners. The startups most likely to become suppliers, customers, partners, or even partners with cross-shareholding arrangements, are identified, monitored and analyzed to define and launch the actions needed. It’s against this backdrop that the Space Business Catalyst was created.

Up to speed with New Space

kineis thales alenia space
Kinéis ©Thales Alenia Space - Kinéis – HEMERIA

Thales Alenia Space embraced the New Space era in the mid-2010s. The company has capitalized on its expertise in constellations and telecommunication, navigation and observation systems to address new markets in high-revisit optical and radar observation, space environment monitoring and the Internet of Things. Thales Alenia Space is building a constellation of high-revisit submetric optical observation satellites with BackSky and is working on Internet of Things systems with the Omnispace in the United States and Kinéis, the first French constellation of nanosatellites dedicated to IoT.

As part of our commitment to sustainable, eco-responsible space solutions, Thales Alenia Space is also developing space vehicles capable of performing a wide range of robotic tasks in orbit. These include stationkeeping, repairs, refueling, inspection and deorbiting of space debris. The aim is to help extend the operational life of satellites and limit the proliferation of space debris. Having adopted a strategic approach based on open innovation, we’re further broadening our scope of action by working with our customers and partners in cutting-edge areas such as quantum telecommunications, artificial intelligence, space edge computing, standardization of 5G/6G from space and digital satellites that can be reconfigured in orbit.

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Space Edge Computing © Thales Alenia Space

Our teams are also involved in innovative projects and studies for space datacenters and the replacement of conventional satellite propellants with water power. New Space also extends to space exploration. For example, we’re building two pressurized modules for Axiom Station, the first commercial space station, which will feature interiors by French designer Philippe Starck.

Thales Alenia Space is working closely with startups Space Cargo (microgravity biotech), Geoflex (precise point positioning), Aiko (embedded AI), Delfox (smart software solutions to avoid collisions in space), SwissTo12 (3D printing design) and NanoXplore (a French electronics firm developing a key component to help ensure the sovereignty of Europe’s space industry).

rev1 space cargo unlimited
REV1 ©Space Cargo Unlimited

The Space Business Catalyst is at the intersection where startups and the innovative ecosystem meet, identifying and selecting the most relevant and building the right relationships with these in-house and external startups for the mutual benefit of all.

Today, we have links with over 700 startups and have joint projects underway with more than 150 of them. We’ve updated our manufacturing processes and introduced additive manufacturing, robotics and cobotics in our cleanrooms. We’re also increasingly digitalizing our products and have launched the development of smallsats and nanosats in partnership with companies such as Hemeria, NanoAvionics and Anywaves.