Hardware for spacecraft
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Zenno Astronautics is a New Zealand-based startup founded in 2017 by former University of Auckland Engineering student Max Arshavsky.
Arshavsky was born in Russia. During 2007-2009 he studied at the Moscow’s National Nuclear University MEPhI and later came to Australia, where, after his graduation, Zenno was founded. Except for the Arshavskiy, there are also several Russians among the company’s staff.
The company has two product offerings – hardware and software for simulations. Zenno’s product solution addresses two of the satellite industry’s biggest environmental black marks: the extension of satellite orbit operations and the volume of space junk littering orbit.
The hardware product is a fuel-free satellite propulsion system under the name Drive that will use magnets powered by solar panels. Zenno has received several grants to develop this technology (from Velocity, CIE’s VentureLab incubator program). In 2021, the company submitted a patent application to the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office for a novel cooling system for a superconducting electromagnet. The patent document suggests that the new propulsion system will be used in 1-3U CubeSats and will use the direct interaction of the satellite’s magnetic field and a non-uniform external magnetic field.
The company’s software product is represented by Zenno OS software (which has a flight heritage since 2018) for mission-licensing of Drive-equipped satellites.
Zenno also partnered with another Russia-rooted startup, Precious Payload, based in the UAE. It offers an online SaaS platform that manages satellite mission planning, technical assessment of satellite launches, and supply chain logistics from mission inception to launch.
$319K (Calaghan innovation 2020-2022)
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