As Musk and fellow billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have drawn criticism for their focus on space colonization and tourism for the rich, Huq comes to the industry motivated by a desire to improve the planet we already live on.
Huq’s family immigrated to Australia from Bangladesh when he was five, and his upbringing in environmental protection and volunteering gave him a strong awareness of the climate and environmental challenges facing humanity.
“We wanted to see how we could combine space and environment. And from that perspective, Earth observation made perfect sense,” he said.
Huq and co-founder Henry Zhong originally took their idea of using satellites to help fight illegal fishing to Catalysr, a startup incubator that runs a powerful mentoring program for migrant and refugee entrepreneurs.
Catalysr CEO Usman Iftikhar said that while it can often be difficult for immigrants to start a business without extensive personal and professional networks in a new country, many entrepreneurs in the program demonstrated the resilience needed to succeed in an increasingly uncertain startup environment.
“Many migrants have come here from very difficult situations,” he said.
“They have resilience and that’s one of the qualities that will help them in business in general, but especially in difficult times like what we’re seeing now.”
BlockEarner CEO Charlie Karaboga, an early investor in Spiral Blue, said Australia was an ideal location for satellite technology because of its potential use in key industries from mining to agriculture to defense.
“It’s going to be a big market and there’s a lot of potential,” he said.
Spiral Blue has sent computers on three satellites so far and will further test their software platform on missions in December and throughout 2023.
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