Hudson Space Systems is pioneering microgravity research as a service. Led by CEO Nathan Tahbaz, the team has already filed a patent for the project and developed their prototype at Stevens Institute of Technology. We got on a call with Nathan to learn more about services the company will offer, how they will monetize, and more-
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
What if science could move faster? Hudson Space Systems is dedicated to accelerating the speed of scientific advancement. By providing fast and affordable access to microgravity, Hudson Space Systems seeks to empower a broad spectrum of customers to make breakthroughs faster. We’re developing the next generation of reusable space launch vehicles to accelerate the next wave of innovation in space.
We’ve already developed a prototype, partnered with industry-leading manufacturers, and raised $100,000 in our current Seed Round. We recently had an investor commit to energize the round with another $400,000, and just went live to raise on MicroVentures. I hope you will consider joining us!
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
Our team — who is passionate about the future of space and space technology — was in the process of developing some exciting new technology for suborbital space flight. As we got to know the space industry better, we noticed a lot of companies in space you wouldn’t expect — like Merck and Shell — all researching microgravity. We knew we could use our technology to make those same technological gains affordable and accessible for businesses and researchers everywhere, not just the ones who had millions of dollars in research funds.
What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?
Our team began our technological development as a project at Stevens Institute of Technology, where we raised $500,000 in donations and assets and partnered with major aerospace corporations in order to pursue our suborbital flight technology. The industry connections made, market research completed, and engineering feats tackled in our project gave us the confidence we needed to continue onwards. We learned so much in the process and are only continuing to learn more as a new business.
What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?
We envision a future where any researcher in genetics or any company building structures for asteroid mining who is developing new technology in need of testing can book a microgravity test flight for a month or two down the line. This flight can provide exposure to microgravity from 3 minutes to a couple of hours, and their research can be returned to them that day for fast iteration and experimentation — without paying astronauts on the ISS to experiment for them. Of course, there’s a lot of technological development standing between us and that dream.
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
Our team consists of the company’s 5 co-founders, who met during our project year in college, and our first employee:
Nathan Tahbaz – CEO
Nathan is a space nerd with experience in management, systems, rapid prototyping, manufacturing, and project management.
B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering & M.Eng. in Space Systems Engineering
Monica Traupman – COO
Monica is an explosions enthusiast with experience in propulsion design at NASA, fuel delivery systems, and instrumentation.
B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering &M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, focus in Energy, Fluids, and Heat Transfer.
Ben Iofel – CIO
Ben is a computer expert with extensive experience in software development, embedded programming, and Linux. He is a software engineer at Flow and brings that culture and experience to HSS.
B.S. in Computer Science
Will Skwirut – CTO
Will’s background includes designing, manufacturing, and testing fluid control components and systems. He also has experience in numerical analysis, rapid prototyping, computational fluid dynamics, and finite element analysis.
B.Eng. & M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering, focus in Fluids, Thermal, and Energy.
Dakota Van Deursen – CFO
Dakota is passionate about learning how complex systems work together — both physically and socially. He weaves experience with STEM in the workplace into his personal history in peer management and governing bodies.
B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering & M.S. in Materials Science & Engineering.
Nicholas (Cole) Yarbrough – Avionics
Cole Yarbrough is a lifelong maker and electrical/computer engineer who has worked on space projects both small and large — from communicating with the ISS to launching a high-altitude balloon. Cole leads the development of avionics hardware for our suborbital launch platforms.
B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering.
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
Our competitors include UP Areo, Exos Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, and others. Anyone offering microgravity research services may become a competitor in parts of the markets we target. We out-compete by providing unique value to customers such as rapid re-launch for iterative research, custom flight profiles, and tailored integration services. We also offer our services at incredibly competitive rates. Our primary competitive advantage is our unique launch vehicle design. Full reusability, composite pressure vessels, our exclusive propulsion cycle, and our patent-pending engine technology combine to provide unparalleled value and performance.
What does your business model look like?
At its core, our model is B2C. We call it Microgravity-as-a-Service. Hudson Space provides a comprehensive launch service to enable customers to access microgravity. We charge by the kilogram, but this price gives the customer access to our entire service, not just the launch.
What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
It’s exciting to potentially raise capital from people who might benefit from our service. In addition to just connecting with a larger base of investors, equity crowdfunding allows us an opportunity to communicate about our service and tech to a wide audience.
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
I really want investors to know that they’re not just investing in a product or service, they’re investing in a team. My co-founders are really, truly, relentlessly awesome. We’re the kind of team that won’t stop until we solve the problem on our minds, and we have the track record to prove it. In college we built our first sounding rocket from scratch, in less than a year, fundraising the half million we need to pay for it along the way. We apply that energy to every challenge we face, whether that’s rocket science or customer acquisition.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
In terms of our goals, we plan to be offering monthly launches providing 3 minutes of microgravity for researchers and businesses everywhere within 5 years. From there, we hope to build up our integration services and infrastructure so as to provide end-to-end experimentation planning for our customers, so that researching with us is as easy as it would be from your own lab.
In the future, we imagine thriving in this market and developing some incredible technology that expands humanity’s access to Earth’s space. We believe our service model and market size will allow us to IPO.
We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Nathan and his team take the company. Hudson Space Systems is currently raising funds via the Microventures portal.
About: Olivia Strobl
Olivia comes to KingsCrowd with a background in venture capital and technology. She spent time at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund in Boston, before joining the KingsCrowd team. There she helped develop machine learning algorithms for the opportunity qualification of preseed and seed-stage startup companies. Prior to her time at Glasswing, Olivia worked in a lab studying the neural correlates of attention. She holds a degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College.