SBIC Noordwijk welcomes yet another familiar face to its space business network. Former ESA BIC Noordwijk earth observation company SkyfloX will join as technical partner to our community – supporting ESA BIC space based startups.
We talked to co-founder Lyssandre Rammos about the exciting worlds of aviation and space, how SkyfloX can support the space business network in these fields, and how he, as the contact person, experiences the space sector.
What is SkyfloX all about?
“SkyfloX is based on the idea of installing sensors on commercial airliners. Because since we are using cameras and sensors on all kinds of altitudes (from drones to satellites), why not use them on an existing infrastructure like airplanes as well? That’s the concept of our ORCA (Optical and Radiofrequency Constellations on Airplanes) system.”
So, did COVID affect your business?
“You would think so, but it has its pros and cons. Of course we don’t see our team that much in person, and it affects shipping times. But for aviation in general, well, they need to think about alternative revenue streams. ORCA is such a solution, because SkyfloX pays the airline to carry our camera on airplanes.”
“Also: it has been easier to plan tests and installations for our system. Currently a lot of the fleet stays on the ground. So it’s easier to get access to an airplane, instead of having a small window of opportunity, which was the case when they were in full operation.”
You have a history within the ESA BIC program, can you tell us something more about that?
“The concept of SkyfloX was born within ESA, and patented there as well. My co-founder, Emmanuel Rammos – who was working at ESA at the time – was asked to make a company out of it. With his expertise in the space sector, he also needed someone with knowledge of the aviation sector – that being me. Being an ESA spin-off, it was a logical step to continue our journey in an ESA BIC program, which we gladly did. We entered in 2016 and graduated in 2018.”
How can you support our community?
“We have experience in working with ESA projects, so we can help wherever we can. Within the aviation industry, our experience in testing and certification of airborne systems means we can answer a lot of questions throughout most of the chain. Regarding earth observation: we’ve done a lot of research on that matter, so we can help you with discussing all the options there are on the market, and helping you define what you need exactly.”
Martijn Leinweber, COO SBIC Noordwijk: “As an ESA BIC Noordwijk graduate, SkyfloX has experience with our incubation program. As such, they can support our innovative startups not only by advising them, but also with their vast aviation and earth observation expertise.”
What do you like most about the space industry?
Lyssandre: “Personally, I like the combination with other sectors. The thing is, when you use a space inspired technology like remote sensing or earth observation, and for instance put a camera on an airplane – people immediately start to ‘get it’. Business wise, it also makes sense to use space tech closer to earth. Our system can complement reference satellite data, with very frequent, high resolution data from airplanes. It opens new doors to, for example environmental organisations, do things they could not purely with satellite data. We are not replacing satellite data, but by applying space technology differently, we are adding a new layer to earth observation, increasing its vast potential.”
What drives you as a company? And personally?
“We want to make more effective use of our technology, by combining technological fields. Creating more value from commercial aviation, by also using it for earth observation does exactly that. Imagine what more we could do if we could combine other technological fields!”
“Personally, I am passionate about proving it’s possible to connect two worlds (aviation and space) that don’t know each other that well. There are many similarities in the process of building things, however on an administrative level, things could not have been more different. Personally, I enjoy learning from both ends. That’s why I became an aviation certification engineer in the first place; you got to have an understanding of many different fields. So, you could say I am the very definition of a generalist.”
“What’s also amazing is when people hear for the first time how SkyfloX works, you can see the twinkle in their eyes. When they get it, something ‘clicks’, and immediately think of other ways to use it. Within a conversation, I can almost predict the exact moment this happens. It has become something to look forward to when talking to someone!”
Interested in becoming a partner as well? Read our partnership page to discover the possibilities.
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