The Astropreneurs met with Andrey and Ksenia from Precious Payload, a service that helps teams plan space missions and navigate them from a business idea to in-orbit operation. In today’s space world, a highly bureaucratic process that robs the sector from its potential.

Andrey, CEO and co-founder, and Ksenia, senior account manager, of Precious Payloads

Astropreneurs: Please, tell us more about Precious Payloads? What is its benefit for the space sector?

Precious Payload: Precious Payload is a product built for the era of commercial New Space age. We are a software-driven freight forwarder that helps payloads get to space. We provide space-access-as-a-service through our software for satellite operators — startups, research organizations, universities, and established enterprises. We take care of all aspects needed to access space, starting with mission planning, launch procurement, insurance, testing, consignments, licensing, logistics etc., all delivered through our digital platform.

Astropreneurs: You offer an online service to streamline the access to space operations. How is a centralized online service different from current and traditional practices?

Precious Payload: Access to space has become a multimodal logistics issue, where you have to make an educated decision comparing at least 50 different launch providers. On top of that, it gets even more complex with satellite constellations, space tugs, orbital raisers, space debris, and plenty of other things. Today, logistics in space are a real pain. There are dozens of variations in the launch sector and in the ground segment. There are more than enough contractors and subcontractors to choose between after conducting a trade-off analysis in state-of-the-art practices. Our digital platform provides a “one-stop shop” for the most valuable services for each individual space mission. We help in planning and execution of campaigns from scratch to launch.

Astropreneurs: Marketing is essential to your daily business, either by finding users of your platform or acquiring business partners that offer the services. What marketing strategies do you follow?

Precious Payload: We run a campaign under #knowyouroptions banner. Indeed, in the multiple options available, we strive to educate our customers on all of them. Academic institutions, start-ups, and government organizations are all part of our audience. Precious Payload hosts seminars, workshops, and events on any and all aspects of space launch. We’ve published the first article and the first video on our blog, and we’re working on podcast series. We aim to inspire as many people as possible to opportunities which New Space industry is creating. Follow our social media! (FB, LinkedIn, Twitter)

Astropreneurs: So far, you have been successful in acquiring service providers. Your database is filled with up-to-date information of more than 50 launch providers over the globe. Please share with us your experience in reaching out to the launch providers and getting their information. Have you experienced cultural differences?

Precious Payload: We were surprised that even the traditional US Department Defense contractors were very open in doing business with us. As we realized, the world of commercial space is really open to a variety of NewSpace entrants. However, we also realized that most new entrants to the small rockets niche do not understand their business case and do not understand the market. They only rely on government support and investors that have supported them in the early days.

Precious Payload’s web-interface eases the search for a suitable launch provider.

Astropreneurs: Apart from providing an online booking system for launch opportunities, you are also providing service products for insurance and operation. It seems this is a more challenging task than finding the launch opportunities. What is your experience?

Precious Payload: We plan to provide end-to-end service on our platform covering all aspects of access to space, and we started with launch insurance. This year we also are adding all other aspects of our customer’s journey to space.

Astropreneurs: You are working on a tool to perform mission profile selection. Why is there knowledge missing? Also, can an online tool substitute a human-in-the-loop for mission profile selection?

Precious Payload: Our goal is not to develop another tech software for engineers, our goal is to educate new actors in space industry on how to benefit from space domain and access it most affordably and efficiently. Having said that, we developed an online tool for business decision makers rather than for engineers.

Astropreneurs: We have got to know broking services also in previous articles (read our interview with HostMi). How large is the market for matchmaking services in the space sector? What growth potential do you see for the online market?

Precious Payload: We’ve noticed HostMi, and we welcome the new entrants into this online brokerage environment, as this will help educate the market on the new possibilities that online software is bringing to the market. We believe that matchmaking is a very small niche, a challenge that is not very pressing for the current and future market. It is only an enabler to achieve better things for the community. But again, their approach is very welcomed. We don’t believe in the pure online capability to solve this problem, but rather we believe in software being a way to deliver great customer service and grow the market for our core services.

Astropreneurs: Finally, which advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who aspire to start their own business in the space sector? What pitfalls did you fall into, what were your biggest success factors?

Precious Payload: We’ve spent a lot of time working with new entrants to the space industry, helping them understand where to start and where to go. We’ve actually recorded a big video that is available now on our YouTube channel that covers most of the topics, concerns, and challenges for new actors in space.

Posted by Timo Rühl