Infinite Orbits raises 12 million euros to extend the lifespan of satellites

Infinite Orbits raises 12 million euros to extend the lifespan of satellites
Infinite Orbits raises 12 million euros to extend the lifespan of satellites

Avoid replacing a telecoms satellite that has run out of fuel by extending its lifespan: this is the objective stated by Infinite Orbits, a start-up based in Toulouse (Occitanie). The latter announced, on May 13, a fundraising of 12 million euros. A round table led by the French investment fund Newfund Capital, with the support of the European Innovation Council (EIC), IRDI Capital Investissement and SpaceFounders France, the acceleration program of the National Study Center space (Cnes).

A first nanosatellite launched last year

Infinite Orbits specializes in in-orbit services, a market that has emerged with the phenomenal acceleration in the number of satellites in orbit. “Between 1957 and 2020, a total of 2,500 satellites were launched into orbit, explains Adel Haddoud, CEO and founder of Infinite Orbits. In 2021 alone, 2,500 orbiting satellites were launched.” A figure which is partly explained by the fall in the cost of putting into orbit, having allowed certain companies like Starlink to deploy nearly 4,000 satellites above our heads.

Based on this observation, Infinite Orbits launched its first nanosatellite “Orbit Guard” into space last year, using SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. This device can carry out satellite surveillance and repair missions, and provide data on its space situation. It wants to send a second nanosatellite of this type this year, then a third in 2025.

A technology that takes over the navigation functions of the satellite

From now on, the start-up intends to move to the next level, with its new project, entitled “Endurance”. This new satellite intends to offer advanced services in orbit, such as close inspection, refueling, product design in space, by docking directly with the satellite at the end of its life. The start-up targets satellites located in geostationary orbit, such as telecom relays. “Located 40,000 kilometers from Earth, they are worth on average 250 million euros per piece”, continues Adel Haddoud. Devices often designed to gravitate for a variable duration depending on their size and use, naturally reaching the end of their life due to lack of fuel.

The Infinite Orbits project is based on RPO (Rendezvous and proximity operations) technology, used in the context of institutional missions. Operations that are costly in terms of time and security maneuvers. “Our technology would make it possible to do this autonomously, with a simple camera, like an autonomous car, says the CEO of Infinite Orbits. All using artificial intelligence to recognize what is happening around.” By docking, “Endurance” should take over the navigation functions of the satellite at the end of its life, like a tow.

Docking planned for 2027

The startup mainly works on clean technology, rendezvous and docking, and outsources other systems, such as launching and propulsion. It plans to launch “Endurance” for the second half of 2026, and to begin docking in 2027. Infinite Orbits has already found its client. “’Endurance’ will take a few months to position itself in the right orbit, find its client, make a secure meeting and dock, explains Adel Haddoud. Once it’s docked, it can last five years.” For the moment, only the American conglomerate Northrop Grumman has managed to put such a satellite into orbit, for the operator Intelsat.

Currently, Infinite Orbits has 42 employees, a figure which will increase to 50 by the end of the year. In addition to its headquarters in Toulouse, it has offices in Singapore and the United States. “We work a lot internationally, and do 100% exportsconcludes Adel Haddoud. Our first two satellites were 80% designed in Europe, with funding from the European Commission.”

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