Top 100 Most Disruptive Space Companies in 2017

  • 15 June 2017
  • Cas Proffitt

For decades, space exploration and experimentation has been the playground for world governments and wealthy academics. Exposure to space was limited to sci-fi, the odd government broadcast, and conspiracy theories. Normal people could only buy their loved ones stars or plots of cosmic land as a sentimental gift.


With the advancements made in the last decade, however, space is becoming more democratically available  due to reduced cost and wider selections of technology available for commercial use. Once just thoughts in science fiction, efficient spacecraft drives, personal satellites, and reusable spacecraft are becoming closer to realization as feasible technologies.


In this list, we describe 100 of the world’s most disruptive companies pioneering space-related technologies.


1.) Orbital ATK


Orbital ATK has worked with NASA for many years on developing more effective means of transportation into space. Orbital ATK won the contract for the International Space Station (ISS) resupply flights which was valued at around 2-billion dollars.


On April 22, the John Cygnus spacecraft came into contact with the ISS, it was carrying around 7,600 pounds of science experimentation equipment, according to the Orbital ATK website.




SpaceX is a company founded by Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla. SpaceX was founded in hopes that humanity could reach out into space in a more cost effective and sustainable manner than previous times had allowed for. Elon’s mission is to put humanity on Mars within 2020, the project name for this landing is Red Dragon.


SpaceX is distributing resources toward crew development and the challenge of landing heavy equipment on the martian surface (project name Falcon Heavy). They have recently launched missions to the ISS using non traditional space shuttles and focused on reusable spacecraft. Musk stated that reusability is one of the most important factors in reducing cost and becoming a multi-planetary society.




MadeInSpace produced the 3D printer which was flown to the ISS in September of 2014 by SpaceX. The MadeInSpace 3D printer allowed the ISS to print much needed parts in a zero gravity environment. By proving that 3D printing was a feasible possibility in zero gravity, MadeInSpace demonstrated the potential of humankind to expand into space.


MadeInSpace showed the possibility not involving shuttles weighed down with spare parts, but carrying 3D printing materials to meet whatever needs the crew had. 3D printed parts can also be broken back down into a recycled material and used again.


Cannae Corporation


Cannae Corp. has developed a Lorentz-force thruster which does not have any requirements for onboard propellant to generate thrust. The Cannae Drive also requires no dielectric material to generate thrust. Removing the need for onboard propellant serves two purposes–reducing launch mass and improving thrust sustainability, allowing for longer, more efficient flights.


5.) Planetary Resources


Planetary Resources is a company that aspires to make asteroid mining a profitable and sustainable endeavor. PR has developed 2 Arkyd-6 infrared sensors with launch dates set in 2017. They are revolutionizing the space industry by bringing commercial technologies to space operations, effectively reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of space systems.


Planetary Resources decision to make use of more modern hardware such as laser-based communication as opposed to RF communication greatly reduced the energy requirements of operating in space. They claim to also be able to measure “A spacecraft rotating at a rate slower than the hour hand of a clock while pointing a beam the width of a dime one mile away.”.




NanoRacks is a space operations provider that maintains regulatory and training compliance with Russia, U.S., and Japanese standards for all things involving flight to the ISS and Earth-orbit or beyond.  NanoRacks was dubbed “The company to work with to get to the ISS.” by Forbes. They handle safety, paperwork, manifesting, data retrieval, and more in terms of service.


NanoRacks has launched more than 500 payloads to date, ranging from satellites into earth orbit to research equipment bound for the ISS. NASA recognized NanoRacks for the first commercial ISS portal.


Jet Propulsion Labratory


NASA’s JPL laboratory is one of the leading robotics and deep-space exploration research centers in the U.S. The JPL lab recently developed a 3D printed fabric which consists of reflective silver squares and a chainmail-esque backing, allowing the material to both absorb and reflect light and heat, depending on which side of the material is faced toward the stimulus.


The 3D printed material can be used for a variety of purposes including radio antennas, heat reflective clothing, and even potentially heat-shielding. The best part about the material is, it can be recycled and 3D printed into a new form as needed. In addition to this new material, the JPL lab is working on more than 20 other space and deep space missions.


Axiom space


Axiom Space has developed an ambitious goal. The Axiom Module will link with the ISS, and potentially replace it upon retirement, commissioning several new modules to attach to the Axiom module, forming a new, private commercial space station. Axiom expects training of their crew to begin in 2017 and the mission to begin in 2019.




Astroscale is working to reduce the presence of debris in space and Earth orbit alike. It is estimated that there are more than 500,000 floating debris in Earth orbit. These items move at a rate of roughly 8km/sec, nearly 10 times the speed of a bullet. Debris poses a threat to satellites in Earth orbit and space alike.


Astroscale consists of a team of more than 20 individuals who are working to create an effective method of removing debris from Earth’s orbit. Debris is currently accumulating faster than it is decaying in the atmosphere.


10.) Firefly Space Systems


Firefly Space Systems was founded to serve a specific market–less-than-1000kg satellite launch to low Earth orbit. Firefly Space Systems focuses on efficiency and cost effectiveness to ensure their customers a sustainable pathway to orbit. Firefly is helping small satellite constellations replace larger satellites and create a more redundant satellite environment above the earth.




Astrobotic is preparing for a lunar deployment of research equipment, satellites, probes, and even brand promotions. Astrobotic is charging 1.2-million dollars per kilogram transported to the lunar surface. Astrobotic is working with Airbus Defense and space as well as DHL to make the mission possible.


The Astrobotic Peregrine Lander is one of the 16 teams competing in the Google Lunar XPrize competition for 20-million dollars. The Peregrine Lander is being worked into a launch contract and manifest, per competition rules, a launch is required by the end of 2017. Astrobotic hopes to make a more sustainable model and ferry cargo to the moon with the results of this competition.


Gateway Galactic


Gateway Galactic aims to reduce the cost of commercial spaceflight and exploration. They are currently developing Antaios, an orbital propellant refuelling depot. Much like Utopia Planetia, the result of such a project would be significantly reduced costs of operation and increased ability to explore the universe.


Reaction engines


Reaction Engines is working to develop and test a new class of airbreathing jet engine-rocket hybrid called SABRE (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine) that can attain speeds between Mach-5.4 and Mach-25, depending on the mode used. Traditional jet engines cap in speed at around Mach-3. Reaction engines is working to achieve the speed of a rocket in conjunction with the fuel efficiency of a jet engine. Their first test is scheduled for 2020


Mars City


Mars City is a program led by the Italian Mars Society (IMS). The primary goal of the Mars City project is to establish an effective means of testing for manned missions to Mars. Using a combination of immersive VR and a simulation of the Mars City, they are helping to train and test potential crew members.


Mars City was founded with a secondary objective in mind: increasing public support for manned missions to Mars.


15.) Texas Guadaloop


Texas Guadaloop is a Texas A&M group competing in the SpaceX Hyperloop contest to create a hyperloop vehicle capable of being used in the SpaceX hyperloop in Hawthorne, CA. Texas Guadaloop is one of the few competitors that made it into the second round of testing. The second test is scheduled to occur in late August 2017.


Bigelow Aerospace


Bigelow Aerospace is developing sustainable production methods for a space modular space station. Their BEAM module has already been launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 and connected with the ISS. Their next phases are to deploy the B330 expansion estimated to launch in 2020 on an Atlas 5 rocket, and the Olympus expansion on an SLS 8 Meter Fairing.


The Olympus launch has no estimated date at this time.




ShipInSpace has developed a reusable spaceplane that can split into a set of escape pods in case of emergency. The ShipInSpace spaceplane is designed to carry as many as 44 passengers and 4 payloads into suborbital space. The target market of ShipInSpace is the space tourism community.


Aerojet Rocketdyne


Aerojet Rocketdyne has a wide portfolio in disruptive space technologies. In their presentation at the 33rd Annual Space Symposium, they highlighted their 3D printing, advanced electric thruster, and reusability advancements. They also announced their MR-104J reusable, human-safe space maneuvering thruster successful hot fire test.



XCOR has a strong history of innovation within spaceflight launch technology. Their Lynx spaceplane makes use of engines that have more than 5,000 collective hot fire tests. The Lynx Mk. 3 is capable of reaching supersonic speeds within one minute and can launch small satellites into low Earth orbit reliably, making as many as 4 flights per day.


The XCOR Lynx engines have 3 available fuels–Kerosene, Alcohol, and Methane. Each fuel is combined with liquid Oxygen (LOX) for combustion.


20.) SpaceIL


SpaceIL aims to be the first Israeli spacecraft to land on the moon. SpaceIL is one of the competitors in the Google XPrize competition. They are one of the few competing teams which have advanced to the final round by signing a launch contract.


In the event that SpaceIL wins the competition, they intend to contribute the winnings to the advancement of STEM education and science development, they are a non-profit organization.


Effective Space Solutions


Effective Space solutions is developing a method of extending the life of satellites and other orbital services. They are using a fleet of small spacecraft with a universal docking mechanism. Effective Space Solutions is lowering the cost of maintaining operations in Earth orbit and increasing reusability of technology.



NovaWurks has partnered with DARPA on their Phoenix program to assist with reactivating dead satellites, refuelling missions, and other key operations in reducing the cost of space-based advancements. NovaWurks also offers their Hyper-Integrated SatLet for increased modularity of satellites, and their Payload Orbital Delivery (POD) system for helping increase the availability of space for the public.  

Spire Global


Spire Global is a satellite monitoring and manufacturing company that is implementing monitoring, tracking, and analytics data for weather, shipping, and maritime operations. Spire Global offers customized monitoring and analytics for their customers as well. They recently had a new satellite deployed from the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft after it separated from the ISS.

Rocket Lab


Rocket Lab has developed Electron, their own rocket-powered launch vehicle which will compete with the SpaceX Falcon 9. Rocket Lab is seeking to expand the ability of humankind to venture into space at a significantly reduced cost and is helping to drive innovation within the private sector. Rocket Lab has an upcoming test of their Electron launch vehicle.

25.) SpacePharma


SpacePharma is working with regulators and space companies alike to move pharmaceutical research into space. They hope to improve the productivity of research in the areas of 3D cellular culturing, protein crystallization, and stem cell research. SpacePharma is hoping to exploit the microgravity environment to improve understanding and productivity of the aforementioned areas of research.

Orbital Insight


Orbital Insight “collects information from the world’s sensors to monitor and track phenomena that cannot be understood at the human scale.” By monitoring data from the complex patterns that human shipping and production create, Orbital Insight is providing a wide view of all the changes that occur in the market, and may allow us to understand how and why they fluctuate.

Stratolaunch Systems

StratoLaunch Systems is a subsidiary of Vulcan Aerospace, they were founded with a focus on providing reliable, reusable access to low Earth orbit. They are among the companies working to develop a spaceplane with a capacity of 500,000 pounds that can deliver contents to multiple orbits in a single trip. The Stratolaunch Systems space plane makes use of 6 Boeing 747 engines and a fully composite fuselage.

Blue Origin


Blue Origin is a Space exploration company, much like SpaceX that was founded by CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. Blue Origin is working to develop a reusable launch vehicle to reduce the cost of orbital and space access to a level which could be managed by the average person. It was recently reported that Blue Origin is selling its booster engines and Jeff Bezos himself is liquidating around 1-billion dollars in Amazon stock per year to fund the venture.

Virgin Galactic


Virgin Galactic is a subsidiary of the Virgin Group, they are focused on providing access to suborbital space for tourists and research missions alike. They announced the VSS Unity had its first successful test glide under its own power in December of 2016. They also announced Virgin Space in March 2017, a subsidiary which will be headed by a former Boeing executive.

30.) Planet Labs


Planet Labs provides mapping and monitoring services for the entirety of Earth via their 24 hour satellite monitoring system. They provide their services to agriculture, defense, civil government, and many other industries. Within their data pipeline, they also include image processing and multiple satellite data feeds.

Ursa Space Systems


Ursa Space Systems provides monitoring of transportation, storage, production, and other areas of industry. Among their use cases are monitoring oil storage levels and resource pile quantities. Ursa Space Systems offers real-time event monitoring. They rely on radar and imaging satellites to ensure reliable and accurate information regardless of weather conditions.

Bagaveev Corporation


Bagaveev Corp. lays claim to being the first company to use a 3D printed rocket engine to life a launch vehicle off the ground in April of 2015. Since then, they have specialized into their role as a dedicated nanosatellite launching service. Bagaveev Corp. hopes to reach a schedule of launching nanosats on a weekly basis.

United Launch Alliance


ULA is a combined venture involving Boeing and Lockheed Martin. They offer launch vehicles ranging from the Vulcan launch platform to the Atlas family of rockets. ULA combines the expertise of two of the most known names in aerospace and they announced the first 360-degree video of a rocket launch on April 18.

iSpace Inc.


iSpace a private firm dedicated to expanding the reach of humanity into space. They are among the trailblazers in pushing humanity to colonization of space. iSpace has developed a focus on micro-robotics technology to meet the needs of humankind as we expand into the hostile regions of deep space.

35.) Audacy


Audacy is a space-based communication provider who has announced the live activation of their space data relay in 2019. Audacy is servicing the communication needs of those in space, similarly to the way in which modern telecommunications platforms provide terrestrial services.

Space Adventures


Space Adventures is offering space exploration for tourists in the form of a10-day exploratory flight not only to the moon and back, but around the moon and back. Space Adventures aspires to fly more people into space in the next decade than have flown to space so far, around 355 on the NASA space shuttle according to, though there have been others to venture into space.

Phase Four

Phase Four has developed a new form of electric thruster, known as the RF thruster. The Phase Four RF thruster generates thrust by exciting molecules with radio frequency waves, resulting in the generation of plasma. The RF thruster claims to be among the highest power-to-weight ratios of electric thrusters, and can be scaled to fit cubesats and larger satellites alike.


Zero 2 Infinity


Zero 2 Infinity is helping to bring commercial payloads into low Earth orbit through the use of their Near Space Balloons. By using balloons, Zero 2 Infinity is able to vary the mission time of payloads from hours to weeks, depending on the needs of their clients.  Mission altitudes for Zero 2 Infinity range from 10 to 40km, an altitude higher than 99% of the atmosphere.

Leaf Space


Leaf Space currently offers satellite communications network availability on an expanding global scale. They are also developing a small satellite launch system to better service their markets. Currently, the PRIMO launch system is at the conceptual stage of development. Leaf Space plans to have 20 ground stations by 2019, allowing them to reach as many as 35-40 passages per satellite per day. They also offer support for the ISS.

40.) ALE


ALE is a Japan-based startup which seeks to create artificial meteor showers for both entertainment and scientific advancement. Their satellite is planned to be located between low Earth orbit and geospatial orbit, allowing particles to be seen for miles, while still burning up completely in the atmosphere.


They also have plans to create multicolored meteor showers by adding various compounds to their projectiles.

Vorago Technologies


Vorago Technologies offers radiation and extreme temperature hardened memory caches and microcontrollers alongside their patented HARDSIL complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) hardening technique. HARDSIL allows them to harden CMOS units without being constrained by manufacturing techniques. CMOS units normally store BIOS settings for computers.


They provide their hardened electronics to their distribution network which operates at the global scale.

LightSpin Technologies, Inc.


LightSpin Technologies, Inc. is developing a Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) that is capable of detecting single photons with an efficiency of about 5%. LightSpin Technologies, Inc. is also developing a photomultiplier chip that can be used to carry out electronic functions with near no Johnson Noise (thermal agitation of particles), a quality that is not present in modern solid-state electronics.

Mohawk Innovative Technology, Inc


Mohawk Innovative Technologies has developed a set of foil bearings which operate reliably without the need for lubrication. By removing the lubrication factor, they have also effectively removed the potential for contamination via oil leakage–either to the environment or to substances which may be pumped using their bearings.


Among their high-speed rotational products are energy turbogenerators, blowers, compressors, and electric motors.

Deployable Space Systems, Inc.


Deployable Space Systems develops, designs, and analyzes systems which can be placed onto outbound spacecraft and deployed upon reaching their desires orbit or destination. DSS offerings include solar panel arrays, boom structures, reflectors, antennas, and more. They offer their services to commercial customers and NASA laboratories alike.

45.) Innovative Space Technologies, LLC


Innovative Space Technologies works with government agencies, academia, and industry leaders to help transitions high-tech concepts into applied, functional technologies. Their permanent staff members average 25+ years of industry experience and are active leaders in their fields of expertise.

Goodman Technologies LLC


Goodman Technologies combines the efforts of subject matter experts from industry and academia alike to produce technologies and solutions for the enterprise, scientific, and government-funded communities, They have contributed to the development of high energy lasers (HELs), various telescopes and mirrors, telescopes, and more.


Goodman Technologies brings more than 30 years of experience and a wide team of SMEs to the table, allowing for advancement and cost reduction for emerging technologies.

LaunchPoint Technologies, Inc.


LaunchPoint Technologies develops drone and aerospace oriented technologies. They have already developed long life, high efficiency battery systems for use in unmanned aerial systems (UAS). They are currently working to develop a magnetic gearbox for rovers and similar products which relies on lubrication only within the bearings inside each gear.


Sienna Technologies, Inc.


Sienna Technologies, Inc. has a long history of developing highly durable, lightweight thrust chamber parts and coatings, chemical propellant catalysts, and pressure sensors in the space sector.


Sienna Technologies, Inc. is currently pioneering development of the world's first High Thermal Conductivity AlN-SiC composite vacuum compatible microwave absorbers for high power vacuum electronics and microwave tubes.

Hyper Tech Research, Inc.


Hyper Tech Research a world leader in producing superconductive wire and other integrated products. They are are the first in the world to produce long-length Magnesium dibromide wire, a superconductive wire that allows for highly efficient integrated products.



Sigma Technologies International Inc. Provides unique insulation and reflective coatings to the table, allowing for heat and radiance reflective coatings that range in thickness from a few nanometers to a few hundred nanometers. Their process involves physical deposition of coatings and substrates to achieve the desired mixture of functions in a given surface.


They VaporPhase process has uses in creating optical coatings and may even have implications in self-regenerating hall thruster technology, a strong potential to supplement the emerging plasma thruster market for lower cost alternatives to traditional fuels.

nGimat Co.


nGimat Co. has worked with NASA to produce such advancements as nanocomposite coatings for wire to be used in electric and hybrid vehicles. Their magnet wire allows for the electrical insulation requirements of traditional wire to be upheld while increasing thermal conductivity. The result of high thermal conductivity in wire is a lower overall temperature.


Reduced temperatures in wire allow automakers to create smaller, cheaper, and cooler operating electric engines.


TGV Rockets, Inc.


TGV Rockets collaborated with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to create an upper-stage capable of being integrated into a launch system to send 100lbs to low Earth orbit for 1-million dollars. The upper stage alone is expected to cost 100,000 dollars. TGV Rockets has a strong history in the aerospace industry, producing rocket engines and thermal protective materials.


Combustion Research and Flow Technology


Combustion Research and Flow Technology (CRAFT) has developed a modeling software which simulates both multi engine rocket combustion performance and regenerative cooling system effectiveness for fuel systems. The CRAFT CRUNCH CFD platform uses computational fluid dynamics to determine how different chemicals will react and interact based on stimuli provided.

Physical Sciences, Inc.


Physical Sciences, Inc. develops and sells additives and catalysts for scramjet engines. Scramjet engines are currently being tested for use as a single stage-to-orbit launch system, a method that will allow for much lower costs to achieve payload delivery to Earth orbit as opposed to traditional multi-stage rockets and more potential for reusability.

55.) Photonic Cleaning Technologies, LLC


Photonic Cleaning Technologies, LLC has developed First Contact, a lens and reflector cleaning solution designed to clean surfaces of any oil or debris so they can provide pristinely clear images when put into use. Among their success stories are the W.M. Keck Laboratory and ESO La Silla. Their cleaning solution can even be safely and effectively used on nanostructures and high-powered telescope mirrors.


AirBus Defense and Space


AirBus Defense and Space is a large contributor to the space exploration industry. They offer payload courier services into orbit, launch platforms, space related electronics and equipment, and many other products and services to their customers. AirBus Defense and Space is providing launch services to a number of commercial customers and even Astrobotic for their Lunar XPrize mission.


Accion Systems


Accion Systems has developed TILE, a new form of electric thruster for use on satellites and spacecraft. TILE thrusters can be used in sets and fired in either pulsating bursts or continuously. The product has been in development since its proof of concept in 2004 according to their documentation. They are offering a limited number of preorder sales.


Accion systems TILE thruster can be used for orbital tasks such as orbit maintenance, de-orbit, constellation setup, and more.




INTERORBITAL SYSTEMS provides researchers and commercial interests with satellite and launch vehicle services. They provide tube and cube satellite kits, launch manifesting, and even orbital delivery of satellites for their customers. They are also working with Lunar XPrize competitors as a team member and launch provider (for TEAM SYNERGY) to soft land on the moon.

Deep Space Industries


Deep Space Industries is working to develop a means of mining for resources on asteroids. Until their launch date comes, they are also providing subsystems for orbital and deep space exploration missions. They have developed a water-fueled electrothermal thruster along with deep space communications and deep space avionics technologies.

60.) Swedish Space Corporation


Swedish Space Corporation provides means of placing equipment into orbit ranging from balloons to rockets. Their subsidiary, ECAPS is pioneering the development of environmentally friendly high performance green propulsion fuels. Alongside their launch capabilities, they also offer satellite communications and monitoring, as well as their own launch facility.

Ad Astra Rocket Company


Ad Astra Rocket Company is developing the VASIMR® thruster, an RF and ionized gas powered plasma thruster which uses superconducting magnets and electromagnetic radiation to generate plasma hot enough to rival the core of the sun for thrust while still shielding the walls of the thruster from the immense heat of the plasma.


Masten Space Systems


Masten Space Systems has developed a series of reusable rockets and rocket engines, including a 30,000lb liquid oxygen and methane engine. They have seen success with reusable rockets such that they have executed as many as 6 flights per day with one rocket. Their precision landing technologies allow for much smaller landing regions during space exploration.

Image courtesy of: Masten Space Systems
Image courtesy of: Masten Space Systems



Sierra Nevada


Sierra Nevada offers products and solutions for many space systems, including separation and stabilization apparatuses, space ready hardware, and spacecraft docking systems. By making these technologies commercially available, Sierra Nevada is helping to bridge the cost gap for consumer and commercial ventures into space.


B612 Foundation


B612 Foundation was founded to collect and analyze asteroid data, allowing asteroid collision potential to be detected decades in advance. The Sentinel program was announced in 2012 with the objective of giving humanity years to determine how to best deal with incoming asteroid threats. The Sentinel satellite will orbit between the sun and Earth  to collect information.

65.) Boeing


Boeing is a respected aerospace and defense manufacturer which is working in conjunction with NASA and Lockheed Martin to propel humanity to Mars and beyond. It is expected that by 2020, testing phases will begin for vehicles that can carry passengers to Mars. Testing will be conducted using the ISS and moon as proving grounds.

Terra Bella, formerly SkyBox Imaging


Terra Bella was acquired by Google in 2014 and launched eight sub-meter resolution imaging satellites to supplement Google Maps data,. On April 18, 2017, Terra Bella was sold to Planet Labs and their eight high-resolution SkySats will join with Planet Labs 60 pre-existing medium-resolution satellites.



SkyCorp signed one of the first Space Act agreements with NASA for satellite launch from the ISS in 1999. SkyCorp participated in a commercial shoot with Radio Shack in 2001. In the mid-2000’s, SkyCorp collaborated with Orbital Recovery to create the first orbit servicing system. In modern space technology, SkyCorp is developing a line of electric thruster powered spacecraft.

Leonardo Company


The Leonardo Company is working with the European Space Agency, Russian Space Agency,  and Thales Group along with various other European space leaders to complete the ExoMars Mission. The ultimate goal of ExoMars is to place a rover on Mars that is capable of extracting soil samples. ExoMars is the first mission in the Aurora Space Exploration Program.

Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc.


Intelligent Optical Systems (IOS) developed fiber Bragg grating for structural strain monitoring alongside a range of other sensing and non-lethal weapons technologies. IOS fiber Bragg grating is used to measure static strain and shearing forces in hulls and key structural systems aboard spacecraft and aeronautical vessels.

70.) ExoTerra Resource, LLC


ExoTerra Resource, LLC uses a second-generation Hall effect thruster powered by solid Iodine as opposed to gaseous Xenon. Their integrated cubesat power supply consists of a solar array capable of providing 250W of power to a 6U cubesat, nearly 3 times the state of the art in current space technology.


Nirvana Energy Systems, Inc.


Nirvana Energy Systems, Inc. is developing the Linear Acoustic Nuclear Conversion Engine (LANCE) power supply for use in long duration missions into deep space. The LANCE power supply may also have potential for use in planetary colonization of harsh environments such as Venus. The desired lifetime of LANCE power supplies is a minimum of 20 years, with around 25% efficiency.


The LANCE power supply could also be applied to water heating and climate control scenarios.

Busek Company, Inc.


Busek Company, Inc. is an industry leader in non-traditional propellant engines. Their products range from resistojets and green monopropellant engines to advanced Hall effect thrusters that can utilize various gases, metals, and even air for propellant. Busek Company, Inc. has developed several configurations of Hall effect thrusters ranging from nested engines to more traditional circular configurations.

Valley Tech Systems, Inc.


Valley Tech Systems, Inc. is working with NASA to produce a non-toxic, storable fuel powered reaction control system. Valley Tech Systems, Inc. Has a history of developing, designing, and testing solutions for the rocket propulsion industry. Their reaction control system stands poised to place itself in post-boost applications and late stage rocket propulsion systems.

CFD Research Corporation


CFD Research Corporation has developed a series of biobatteries which can produce energy from fuels ranging from sugar water and ethanol to hydrocarbon fuels. The energy density of these biobatteries has reached as much as 8-10 times that of Lithium-ion batteries, according to CFD Research Corporation.

75.) ASTER Labs, Inc.


ASTER Labs, Inc. is the official reseller of GomSpace nanosatellite components for the U.S. and Canada. They are working to develop a communication and navigation network based on Gamma rays for objects in space. The impacts of Gamma ray communication include reliable, high speed communication and extremely high energy efficiency.

Vector Space Systems


Vector Space Systems owns the Vector-R, the smallest production reusable satellite launch vehicle. Their platform can currently launch for as little as 1.5-million dollars per flight for 50kg payloads. The Vector-R is expected to be available for commercial use in 2018 for up to 100 flights per year. They are also developing the Vector-H, a version capable of carrying 100kg payloads to low Earth orbit.


Vector space systems comparison size
Photo source: Vector Space Systems and NYTimes


Thales Group


Thales Group actively participates in research and development of space exploration technologies, according to their website, almost 20% of their total revenue is redistributed to R&D efforts. Recently, they announced delivery of a heat shield and METIS telescope for the solar orbiter which is set to launch in 2019.



Avio is producing small launchers capable of reusable launch for in-orbit service and delivery missions, as well as dealing with in orbit debris. Avio is working to develop high efficiency thrust chamber parts that can be made via additive layer manufacturing from materials including carbon fiber and carbon-epoxy composites.

Dauria Aerospace


Dauria Aerospace develops imaging and research satellites as well as the ground facilities which monitor their feedback, positioning, and other mission critical data. Dauria Aerospace uses large surface solar panels to provide consistent power to satellites, allowing for sustainable satellite life, potentially exceeding five years per satellite.

80.) SpaceQuest


SpaceQuest offers customers a cheaper alternative than having to fly their payloads to space independently through their microsatellite bus. Additionally, SpaceQuest owns a satellite-based automatic identification system (S-AIS) database dating back to 2006. Their immense data repository allows their data resellers and value added partners to provide customers with all the data they may ever need relating to  service their target markets.

Clyde Space


Clyde Space is a prime contractor for satellite construction and deployment at the small-to-nanosat level. They control ground stations, individual subsystem creation, and satellite structure manufacturing. Clyde Space offers customers a highly manufacturable design that is built with reliability in mind. Among their offerings for components are solar arrays, satellite frame, systems monitoring and custom solutions to fit virtually any need.



GeoOptics has filled a niche left by traditional weather satellites–the need for highly accurate and fresh weather data. Unfortunately, over the last few years, traditional satellite launch costs have increased significantly. The wave of small and nanosatellite deployments being carried into orbit have allowed for GeoOptics to provide reliable and fresh weather data to the world, as well as insight into the ionization state of Earth’s magnetosphere and atmosphere.



Raytheon has developed and tested a set of high-resolution Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite sensors for use with the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite, a mission which launched successfully in 2011, allowing the satellites to make use of significantly upgraded equipment with the advantages of a polar orbit to gather weather and threat information.

RUAG Space


RUAG Space is one of only a few space companies capable of laying claim to a 100% reliability rating. Of the missions they have launched, they claim to never have had a failure in their launcher fairings and structures. RUAG provides payload fairings for the VEGA and ARIANE-5 launchers made by Avio.

85.) Terran Orbital Corporation


Terran Orbital Corporation researches, designs, and builds small, nano, and picosatellites for both government and commercial customers. Among their product offerings are radiation tolerant field programmable gate array (FPGA) computing systems, spacecraft bus subsystems, high speed communications, 3 axis altitude control, and a number of services including consulting, mission support, and launch services.  

ÅAC Microtec


ÅAC Microtec has product offerings including spacecraft buses, satellite power supplies, and data handling systems. ÅAC Microtec offers mission optimization, mainly targeted to advanced missions up to 150kg in size. ÅAC Microtec mission optimization solutions address not only through system specific methods, but also using integrated solutions.

Alba Orbital


Alba Orbital designs and builds PocketQubes for easy and cost-effective deployment into orbit. They are partnered with ESA to launch their products. Currently, they have a 96p PocketQube deployment device in development. They are working toward a more cost-effective, democratized method of access to space.

Astro Digital


Astro Digital Implements a combination of broad coverage and high resolution imaging satellites to provide their customers with high-quality data which can be used to make inferences about crop yields, weather trends, woodland conditions, and many other applications. Astro Digital makes use of the batteries commonly found in Tesla vehicles to power their satellites and solar panels to recharge those batteries.



Astrocast uses machine-to-machine communication and nanosatellite constellations to provide real-time data monitoring for applications including preventive maintenance inferences, remote asset monitoring, and geolocation. Astrocast employs a terminal to upload data to satellites in their constellations at a rate of 1kb per day, ground monitoring stations, and an overlapping field of view for satellites on a polar orbit, allowing for consistent coverage of the globe.

90.) Crystalspace


Crystalspace designs, develops, and produces satellite subsystems for use in cubesats. Among their product offerings are  attitude control systems, power supplies, communications systems, and cameras. Their attitude control system can measure attitude to within 1/10th of a degree and adjust to within 1 degree.

CU Aerospace


CU Aerospace has developed a Gallium-fueled electromagnetic (GEM) thruster as well as a teflon-fueled pulsed plasma thruster, CU Aerospace claims that both are more cost effective than Xenon-powered Hall thrusters.They also offer a solar sail-based propulsion unit called the CubeSail.


Among their other areas of research are high-powered chemical lasers, microvascular composites, and several simulation and testing software suites. CU Aerospace has collaborated with academia to bring these technologies to mature stages of development.  They also claimed three NASA SBIR research awards this year.



Fleet was founded in 2015 with the goal of providing free internet connectivity to IoT devices through the use of nanosatellites. They are striving to reduce the cost of space ventures and maximize the efficiency of resource utilization by humanity. Their network is designed to be scalable and offer ubiquitous coverage to IoT devices on a global scale.



ThrustMe is a next-generation small and cubesat propulsion provider. They claim to provide complete thruster modules with equivocal or greater performance than their competition in sizes up to 40% smaller. They currently offer propulsion units that fit within a 1U cubesat and larger units for more intensive mission requirements, Their thrusters offer high delta-V to suit the thrust requirements of highly demanding missions.

Hyperion Technologies


Hyperion Technologies provide propulsion, monitoring, and stabilization units to be implemented on small and cubesats. Among their offerings is the MTQ200 series of magnetorquer, to be used for stabilization through interaction with the atmosphere and magnetosphere. The MTQ200 makes use of a burst mode to allow for rapid stabilization, with normal operating conditions being much more power efficient and continuously operable.

95.) NSLComm


NSLComm has developed a flexible antenna that can be stowed for launch while providing higher bandwidth and greater coverage than traditional antennae. Their deployable antenna lays claim to 100-times higher throughput than other low Earth orbit competitors and 10-times higher throughput in geospatial orbit. They utilize a secondary, fixed reflector to allow for error correction and in-orbit recalibrations.



HyperCubes is utilizing nanosatellites to reduce the cost of consistent monitoring of Earth surface activities. HyperCubes is using nanosats to keep watch over pollution and emission generation, as well as setting their sights on sustainability for companies in the future. They aspire to be the monitoring platform from which human scalability reaches a turning point, and our population can be sustained as we approach 10-billion in population.

New Production Concept Italy


NPC Italy SpaceMind develops observatory solutions, nanosatellite mission packages, and space debris mitigation as their primary products. They recently developed a one-meter telescope capable of of tracking at a rate of 60 degrees per second. Among their nanosatellite offerings are mission and satellite design and testing, launch, and in-orbit operations and monitoring.




Odysseus is a satellite mission consulting firm that provides support for every step of the process. They offer mission planning and feasibility analysis, procurement of parts and subsystems, launch, and even in-orbit monitoring and mission support operations. They provide a full-stack of services to make sure everything in the process is achieved in a timely and reliable manner.



OUTERNET provides users with a radio receiver and file management system for use with the OUTERNET network. OUTERNET beams datafiles to users at a rate of approximately 20Mb per day so they can enjoy their content on demand, as opposed to traditional radio being enjoyed on a live stream basis.


Do you think you'll get to go to space? Do you want to? Would you inhabit Mars if you had the chance? Let us know in the comments below!

About Cas Proffitt

Cas is a B2B Content Marketer and Brand Consultant who specializes in disruptive technology. She covers topics like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, and big data, to name a few. Cas is also co-owner of an esports organization and spends much of her time teaching gamers how to make a living doing what they love while bringing positivity to the gaming community.