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The Vilnius start-up pioneering satellite autonomy

Investors increasingly view the space domain is the next big thing in the defence sector.

Blackswan Space, a Vilnius based space tech start-up developing advanced software products for complex space and defence missions last week secured 760,000 in pre-seed funding round.

Since 2019 Blackswan Space has pioneered autonomous space technologies in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and commercial partners.

Its Mission Design Simulator (MDS) enables customers to simulate complex spacecraft manoeuvres for in-orbit servicing, object retrieval missions, space domain awareness, or simulating satellite constellations in real-time.

The Vision Based Navigation (VBN) hardware payload running proprietary algorithms, enables spacecrafts to perform autonomous navigation manoeuvres when control from the ground is not possible.

The funding round was led by Scale Wolf, a hybrid accelerator and VC fund for defence tech with participation from Linas Sargautis, co-founder of NanoAvionics, Lemonade Stand, Baltic Sandbox Ventures, and Vladas Lašas—a serial entrepreneur and angel investor.

“We are in a strong position to solve one of the major problems and opportunities facing the space economy today—the growing number of satellites and other space infrastructure in orbit that will be impossible to control all from the ground,” says Marius Klimavicius, co-founder and CEO of Blackswan Space. 

“Our nimble team has bootstrapped by self-funding and winning contracts from ESA, this funding round is the rocket booster to help us level up.”

The company will use the funding to grow its engineering staff to accelerate product development and scale its commercial activities.

The next big thing in defence

Dave Harden, partner at Scale Wolf VC and former COO and co-founder of AFWERX, a US Air Force’s research laboratory put it succinctly: “We are glad to be one of the first investors in Blackswan Space. Their vision and technology are perfectly timed. Space domain is the next big thing in the defence sector”.

Linas Sargautis, angel investor and co-founder of Kongsberg NanoAvionics, a leading small satellite manufacturer and operator, added: “I am glad to back this talented company, developing products that enable a wide range of in-orbit servicing applications—the new frontier of the space industry”.

Since its inception in 2019, Blackswan Space has been successfully developing its Mission Design Simulator (MDS) and Vision Based Navigation (VBN) products with internal funding, R&D grants, and multiple contracts from the European Space Agency.

With the new infusion of capital, the company says that it is well positioned to accelerate MDS and VBN development and commercial activities in 2024, preparing for in-orbit demonstration of its core technologies in the next few years—all part of the bigger picture to support the exponential growth of the in-space economy.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash.

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