Things are tough out there • TechCrunch

Hello and welcome back to Max Q! I hate writing intros, so let’s get to it, shall we?

In this issue:

  • A startup tackling the “unsexy” parts-ordering workflows
  • Space tech predictions from Seraphim Space
  • News from Varda, ClearSpace and more

There is very little room for error in aerospace and defense (A&D) manufacturing. For companies that build products like missiles, rocket boosters and avionics, each part must not deviate more than a hairsbreadth from its technical specifications.

Despite the precise demands of the industry, however, parts ordering is generally done using systems that are only slightly better than carrier pigeon.

To solve this problem, Malory McLemore and Anne Wen founded Stell, a startup that’s building a platform to bring new workflows to parts ordering. The company is hoping that its platform can reduce errors and improve efficiency — two variables that will be key to shoring up America’s industrial base.

Stell founders Malory McLemore and Anne Wen

Stell founders Malory McLemore and Anne Wen. Image Credits: Stell

From Seraphim Space CEO Mark Boggett, seven predictions on what the space industry has in store this year. First on the list: cell phone connectivity from space.

“Multiple players in the space industry have recently set their sights on direct-to-mobile connectivity from space,” Boggett writes. “While it’s still a very early market with limited existing capabilities, companies such as Apple, T-Mobile, Globalstar, SpaceX, AST SpaceMobile and Lynk Global are targeting this area. Multiple mobile network operators are already on board, even before some of the first operational spacecraft have been launched.”

The crowd cheers at Playalinda Beach in the Canaveral National Seashore, just north of the Kennedy Space Center, during the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, on Feb. 6, 2018. Playalinda is one of closest public viewing spots to see the launch, about 3 miles from the SpaceX launchpad 39-A. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Image Credits: Orlando Sentinel (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

More news from TC and beyond

  • ABL Space Systems provided an update on the investigation into the anomaly that caused the company’s RS1 rocket to crash back into the launch pad on its first test flight. (ABL)
  • China is planning more than 70 launches this year. (SpaceNews)
  • ClearSpace, a Swiss startup developing in-orbit servicing and debris-removal tech, closed a €26.7 million ($28.9 million) Series A round. (Venturelab)
  • The European Space Agency wants to enact a “zero-debris policy” for companies launching spacecraft into orbit. (WSJ)
  • Slingshot Aerospace has a new partnership with HawkEye 360 for the latter company to provide radio frequency data for Slingshot’s space-based monitoring platform. (HawkEye)
  • Space Capital’s most recent quarterly report found that private investment in space dropped 58% in 2022 compared to the previous year. (TechCrunch)
  • SpaceX’s agreement with Carnival was expanded, with the cruise company moving to introduce Starlink across its cruise brands. (Carnival)
  • Varda Space Industries provided a look at its first spacecraft that’s being built in partnership with Rocket Lab. It will launch aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-8. (Varda)

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