ITALY :: AEROSPACE ENGINEERING
Leaf Space is a company established in July of 2014 by four aerospace engineers of the Politecnico di Milano and an expert in the strategic and financial sector.
After a careful analysis of the Space sector, the team has identified the class of microsattelites as potential market in which focus its business. Compared to the standard satellites, microsatellites have several advantages, among which the small size, the low cost of development and launch, the limited complexity and the reduced period of operating life, which allows a very high technological replacement in orbit.
The microsatellite market has witnessed an exponential growth since the year 2012 and about 200 units were launched in 2015. From reliable data on the planning of launches for the coming years, it is noted that more than 400 microsatellite will be launched in 2020 , without considering new projects like the one of the Satellite Internet launched by Google, SpaceX, Facebook and OneWeb.
The microsatellites can perform countless functions and most of them use images of different types. In particular, the most interesting application are the ship tracking (commercial, tourist and military), the deforestation control, precision farming, weather forecasting, the disaster control (fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.), air pollution monitoring and the control of illegal discharges in the sea. Lately, new applications arise such as pharmaceutical experiments and particular types of banking transactions.
Despite this impressive growth, the services dedicated to this satellite class did not follow the market trend and the risk is to create considerable bottlenecks, which could lead to a stalemate in the use of this technology.
The long-term project of Leaf Space is to provide a single interface for services devoted to microsatellites. The medium-term project, is the realization of a launch service dedicated to microsatellites, which guarantees times and costs compatible with the market needs. The project involves the construction of an ultra-light launcher (50 kg payload), with a launch rate of at least 15 flights per year.
The short-term project is instead Leaf Line, the first telecommunications service dedicated to microsatellites, which is currently the company's main activity.
The latter project will be fully developed by 2017 and has won many awards, including a European Horizon 2020 grant dedicated to small and medium enterprises.