In 2016, after years of building the first Finnish satellites in Aalto University, the laboratory of space technology had a new visitor. Juha-Matti Liukkonen from Reaktor Innovations was knocking on the door, hoping to buy a nanosatellite. But we already had built two… there had to be something more to it. And there was – a much wider business perspective and a possibility to change the world using satellites.
Soon after, in April 2016, Reaktor Space Lab was founded with the support of Reaktor Ventures, Reaktor’s venture capital fund. More important than the investment, we got a chance to collaborate with Reaktor Innovations – one of the leading software and business consultancies in Finland. In combination, we finally had the expertise and courage to offer everything from the very first moments of a customer needing a satellite, to operating a fleet of them.
Our journey towards the stars
For our space missions, we of course needed to have a capable and versatile satellite platform. It had to support a wide variety of missions from the coastal waters of Earth orbit, all the way to Moon and Mars. While we had learned a lot from building the Aalto satellites, we decided to start from a clean slate. The whole satellite architecture was re-designed to support modern communication software, business needs and higher failure tolerance. And a camera would be nice too, but not an ordinary one – the first ever miniature infrared space hyperspectral imager from VTT. After just two years, Reaktor Hello World was finalized to wait for its launch in 2018.
Meanwhile on the business front, we identified several opportunities benefiting multiple business sectors and our environment. The first ever Finnish satellite for the European Space Agency was ordered already back in 2017 to test new telecommunication frequencies. A contract to design the very first deep space nanosatellite of Europe was given in 2018. Our first satellite constellations for providing connectivity and monitoring our environment have been under development with our partners for some time.
It has been quite a ride. From the very first moments of learning how to build satellites in Aalto, to participating in some of the most ambitious scientific and commercial nanosatellite missions of today. And this is definitely not the end.