Towards a New Era of Space Telecommunications

Small satellites are a cost-effective way to test new Earth observation (EO) concepts. The Copernicus Accelerator startup Golbriak Space was awarded as the 2017 Copernicus Masters Overall Winner, together with their partners Adriano Camps and Alessandro Golkar, for its idea of a future-oriented satellite mission, FSSCat. It supports the Copernicus Land and Marine Environment services by measuring soil moisture, ice extent and thickness, and detecting melting ponds over ice, using a state-of the-art dual microwave payload as well as a multispectral optical payload. FSSCat will be the precursor of a constellation of federated small EO satellites connected by radio and optical inter-satellite links.

The Startup Behind the Winning Idea

Golbriak Space is a newly founded company in Tallinn, Estonia. The startup’s mission is to develop and implement the services as well as the enabling technologies for distributed and federated satellite missions. These novel paradigms should bring several advantages for the space industry, not only by optimisation of data distribution, but also by increasing the overall mission performance and reducing operational costs.

As a first step, the team intends to enhance the communication capabilities of small and micro satellites, by offering affordable optical communications terminals with speed of hundreds of megabits.

The company is now a key contributor to the FSSCat mission concept, the 2017 Copernicus Masters Overall Winner. Consisting of two 6U CubeSats, FSSCat will monitor the ice levels in the polar regions through GNSS-reflectometry and multispectral imaging. Golbriak Space contributes to the mission by enabling high-speed data exchange between the two platforms with the startup’s main product, an optical transceiver for small satellites. This gives the multidisciplinary team of FSSCat the opportunity to test and validate their system in a real space environment.

By reaching this milestone, the startup is extending its business network and the learnings. The new contacts gained as Copernicus Accelerator mentee is helping the team to integrate themselves into the European Space community quickly and easily. “Mentorship is one of the most valuable assets of this support and has been proven as a key element in setting up our business in Estonia”, according to Rustam Akhtyamov from Golbriak Space.

Recently Golbriak Space also has been accepted as one of the very first startups to the ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Estonia. Hereby the team will benefit from even more business support and access to new facilities.

A few words from the Copernicus Accelerator Mentor:
“Golbriak Space has started very strong. They achieved their first deal even before incorporation. The startup is developing space to space laser communication and their technology has already been tested on weather balloons. The production units will be tested on the 6U satellites with the planned launch in spring 2019. Another great success of the team is that they already secured funding and got accepted into the incubation programme of ESA BIC Estonia in Tallinn.”

Ivo Remmelg
Business Angel and Tallinn Science Park Tehnopol mentor


Do you want to write your own chapter of the Copernicus Masters success story? Then go ahead and pre-register now for the 2018 edition to turn your idea into business, just like the Golbriak Space team did.

About the Copernicus Masters and the Copernicus Accelerator
AZO has launched the Copernicus Masters in 2011 on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and with strong support of world-class partners as part of their mission to foster the User Uptake of Copernicus services. The Copernicus Masters is an international competition which awards prizes to innovative solutions for business and society based on Earth observation data. The Copernicus Masters has developed into the moving force of promoting cutting-edge solutions. In 2016, the European Commission has launched Copernicus Accelerator. This one-of-a-kind programme is focused on providing a tailored business coaching service for up to 50 finalists in the Copernicus Masters competition.

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Trending Topics

Upcoming Events

You may also like

Interview with the Winner “Team” of the EO Excellence Award 2023

Interview with the Winner “Individual” of the EO Excellence Award 2023