Will the first solar sail in space be French?

Thibaut, founder of Fotolia and startup studio eFounders, is working on the Algiers project. Since launching Folk six months ago, he has raised 2 million euros from CNES and BpiFrance to create the first solar sail in space.

Thebud was passionate about the Internet during his engineering studies at Algiers and has not stopped since. Co-founder of Zilok.com (now Ouicar), his great success was Photolia, whose stock he sold three times, in 2009, 2012 and 2014 (the year Adobe bought the whole thing for 800 800 million). But he is not intended to be an ordinary business angel.

In fact, he had already anticipated the next movement by creating eFounders with Quentin Hickmans, a startup generator that was consistent with his vision and allowed him to “have fun”. “It’s to me the French side in Silicon Valley for ideas, products and innovations, and the German side for rigor and process,” he said.

Enrich the economic ecosystem

Thibaut Algier’s vision is broad, he says he is “sector agnostic”, everything has the potential of his interest, he is sure that speed and growth, whatever the cost, are essential in the innovative sector. Collaborative costs, food, B2B, and especially everything that is “scalable” are therefore likely to evolve and take on a whole new dimension.

Every week, at eFounders, a marketing committee and a product meeting are held to create rhythm, speed and efficiency. You have to believe that the recipe is good. eFounders has already built about thirty startups for a portfolio worth over two billion dollars.

From Berlin to Brussels

If Thibaut Algiers had the opportunity to grow up in Alpile, his entrepreneurial adventure began in Berlin. There he not only met his future wife, he began to lay the first foundations of his photolia project. We can never say enough about the benefits of spending time studying abroad!

At the end of his year in Total Berlin, he joined his partner in Brussels where he has been ever since. This was tempted by the quality of life in the southern Belgian capital, as far as the eye could see from the image of the gray sky epinal. Since the epidemic, the man has organized himself, he goes to Paris two days a week and works from home the rest of the time. He thinks this solution is very effective.

Gamma Space, a science fiction project

A 74-square-meter solar sail is scheduled to launch into space in a few months, especially in October, here’s what it is. It’s not at least a fad on the part of the serial entrepreneur, but actually an emotion. Thibaut Algier’s eyes were always on the stars, space is a great region where dreams are seen and why some of his dreams are not realized.

Two years ago, the project was put on the head of an entrepreneur who approached the union to promote photonic propulsion in search of an expert on U3P, space law. It will be Louis de Gaulle Matignon, president of Gamma Today, associated with Andrew Kutter, an investor and space enthusiast. So the three partners to be involved in this project, which was officially born in the summer of 2020. The young startup Gamma Space has worked with complete secrecy before revealing itself with a fundraiser of 2 million euros from CNES (Center National d’Etudes Spatials), BPI France and BPI France. Private investors.

A sail, for what?

Thibault Algiers was already interested in studying the solar sail in 1999 when he partnered with CNES researchers to dedicate a thesis to it. The principle is innovative, instead of using an electric or chemical drive like today, it is a question of using photonic solutions.

Did you say “photonics”?

In short, this energy enables movement which accelerates over time. The policy is like a sailing boat. There is a solar wind in space that can be used for interstellar travel. Light is an engine, made up of photons that touch the sails and transfer their energy to an object, which will then be driven and set in motion.

Philip Lubin, a leading researcher in this type of research, even predicted Earth-Mars travel for 3 days or a month for a human flight. Not surprisingly, Thibaut was completely enthusiastic and involved in this revolutionary transport to Algiers. If you want a dream, here it is! No oil, no gas, no electricity …

Cover thinner than hair

The gamma-designed strand is made of aluminized polyamide, fifty times thinner than human hair. To achieve this feat, Gamma provided a way: a dozen engineers partnered with an American company to work on this innovation in their own navigation software called “Sextant”.

Competing with NASA (USA) and Jaxa (Japan)

With all the major space agencies working on the subject, NASA-funded California researchers have already designed a laboratory photonic thruster. Thibaud Elzière has an idea beyond the extraordinary aspect of the concept. It does not forget the basics and intends to create a new market segment by offering highly competitive missions at a price that is more competitive than the current competition equipped with conventional propulsion. A way to explore deeper grounds, even for countries that do not have access today due to financial reasons.

Focus is on for 2025

Experiments will take place until 2025 when a mission to Venus has already been envisioned. But next October, the “Gamma Alpha” mission launched by the SpaceX rocket will deploy the first sail, acting as the engine of a small 11-kilo satellite, a first full-scale test that will be 550 kilometers above our heads. , Even if this technology is intended to be used for distant missions, then not in low orbit. Perspective is a great epic.

Leave a Comment