Leo is developing a dedicated delivery service for CubeSats.
By launching a rocket from an automated balloon at an altitude of 18 kilometers, the system reduces the necessary energy to reach orbit. Our technology includes a fully reusable and autonomous balloon platform that is capable of supporting over 100 launches. This platform carries and launches a rocket that utilizes solid motors sourced from industry suppliers. Our system lends itself to mass manufacturing and is inherently capable of operating at scale.
In December 2018 Leo Aerospace made history as the first company to launch a high powered rocket from a reusable balloon platform. This launch, which occurred in the Mojave Desert, was a major regulatory milestone as well. Recently, we have signed several NDAs with CubeSat manufacturers to begin discussing more formal partnerships, relay technical decisions and information, and begin more rigorous design for specific customer requirements. We also have signed Letters of Intent from several customers, and MOUs to test pricing are a goal for the coming year.
Any business, university, research organization, or defense agency that needs to access space takes advantage of CubeSats. This is a $5B opportunity that is not being served by the existing market.
Problem or Opportunity
Almost half of all satellites in the next 10 years will be CubeSats. These incredibly small and easy to build platforms have lowered the barrier of entry to space, enabling businesses and innovators to disrupt industries from agriculture to shipping.
Right now, there is no reasonable way for CubeSats to get to space; they must rideshare which results in debilitating lead times and limited access. Leo is developing the first launch service truly dedicated to CubeSats.
Solution (product or service)
Leo is developing a dedicated launch service for CubeSats. One launch for one customer, no more ridesharing or hitchhiking. We believe it should be as easy to put a CubeSat into space as it is to ship a package across the country.
To deliver a small cluster of CubeSats exactly when and where it needs to go, you need a vehicle that is capable of deploying 25kg to orbit at a high frequency.
By launching a rocket from an automated balloon at an altitude of 18 kilometers, the system reduces the necessary energy to reach orbit. It is now feasible to launch a small package into orbit. Our technology includes a fully reusable balloon system and rocket that utilizes solid motors sourced from industry suppliers. An additional benefit of our system is its elimination of dependency on launch infrastructure which enables launch from any desired location.
Dedicated launch for CubeSats does not exist. Ridesharing models take advantage of leftover space on rockets developed by SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and Vector. These companies are focused on larger types of satellites and are frustrated by the issues caused by secondary payloads like CubeSats.
Advantages or differentiators
Reduce launch lead time from 3 years to less than 3 months.
Reduce time spent in space correcting orbits by 6 months.
--- According to a report by Space Angels, every month that delays a satellite from operating in space equates to over $400,000 in burn.
Capable of delivering with enough frequency to support the huge demand in the market.
Money will be spent on
Hiring key team members, converting customer relationships to priced MOUs, and proving flight heritage of various subsystems with the FAA.
These systems include:
Continuing hot-fire tests of an in-house designed bi-propellant thruster for rational control of the balloon platform.
Flight qualifying the rotational control system.
Building flight heritage of our automated balloon platform with flight testing.
Licensing a launch vehicle is a process that takes time and resources to prove the safety and efficacy of all relevant systems. We have had a close
relationship with the FAA since 2015 and are executing on a clear path to license our vehicle.
We are also members of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. In this way we can help direct national policy to expedite and shape spaceflight regulation for the modern age.
Incubation/Acceleration programs accomplishment
MD5 National Security Technology Accelerator
NSF I-Corps Program
Creative Destruction Labs Space Stream Accelerator