Stanislaw Ostoja-Starzewski
2014, France
Helping to access internet through minisatellites
Telecommunications

A set of mini-satellites to provide affordable and universal access to Internet

''A network of 50 nanosatellites could easily update all of Google Earth's images every 24 hours, rather than every 6 months'' explains enthousiastically Stanislaw Ostoja-Starzewski, a young French engineer and entrepreneur educated at , co-founder with Spas Borisov of NovaNano in 2009. Together, they aim to produce a decisive break in satellite technology, which they forecast being the next ''technological leap forward'' after mobile phones, GPS, tablets and the Cloud. A dream they are slowly but steadily turning into reality as the MIT Award Innovator under 35 of the Year in France is showing. ''Through our technology we could guarantee an access to internet to the two thirds of the world's population, currently underserved by any communication infrastructure at all''. It is no surprise that Google, too, is said to be exploring small satellite technology as well as other technologies to become a global mobile internet operator.

By taking advantage of the constant miniaturisation and technological improvements, and even pushing them further through the design of an advanced antenna, Ostoja-Starzewski has turned his passion for state-of-the-art technology into a promising start-up venture, proposing the design, launch and placement in orbit of a particular segment of satellites, the so called nanosatellites, which do not exceed 50 Kg in weight. The reduced size and weight makes them much cheaper to build, operate and, most of all, be places in orbit around the earth. Many nanosatellites find their place in orbit by ''taking a lift'' from more expensive programs which offer the available space onboard to ''paying passengers''. Being small and ready to fly at any time, as nanosatellites are, is definitely an advantage to find a seat.

After 5 years only, NovaNano has already managed to launch its first satellite, and achieved agreements with satellite launching programs to handle the future launch of nanosatellites, whether for communication, security, environmental monitoring or, as in Google Earth's case, for land surveying. Their use can be so widespread that they can also assist the transport, logistics or energy sectors. Ostoja-Starzewski foresees being able to capture up to 50% of the current satellite communication market - which currently amounts to 2 billions dollars per year - by 2020, an ambitious target that he justifies by the fact that their technology allows data transmission rates which are 50 times higher than the current satellites. Furthermore, they have set up their business not only as a high-technology provider, but as a data operator: the platform they developed, called Global Connectivity System, consists not only of their own constellation of nanosatellites for data transmission and reception, but also data management centres and terminals. A turnkey solution where they propose to handle any aspect of the communication needs of their customers. And if some of them just want some help to ''get a lift into space'', Ostoja-Starzewski will there to help them too.