How to bootstrap from idea to orbit

The early days of porkchop.
The result of our first grant: our first thruster firing in Autumn 2019. Some firings (like the one above) were done in air since we were too impatient to set up the vacuum chamber.
  • With the above in mind, it is important to learn when to penny-pinch and when not to. Cheaping out for the wrong things can ultimately be more expensive, give you severe buyers’ remorse, or both. We’ve made our fair share of mistakes here.
  • Not having a lot of money hardens you as founders, but it does also force you to make some extremely difficult decisions. Grant funding (at least that which we’ve received) is generally not usable to pay wages/salaries. This means you have to figure out visas/rent/groceries/etc for yourselves. It also means you can’t hire people who could help accelerate the company. Don’t expect a walk in the park.
  • Not having credibility in the beginning makes things 100x harder, but not impossible. Look for opportunities to get some small amount of cash to prove a concept, build a prototype or validate a hypothesis. Grant funding is one of many options, including: part-time jobs, gig work, micro-investment, etc.
  • Finally, there’s no shame in using non-space equipment for developing space technologies! We used an electric pizza oven for drying epoxy when assembling flight hardware. Another great example is using tape measures as antennas in CubeSats. You have to start somewhere.



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porkchop is a Stockholm-based startup with the goal of establishing an interplanetary economy.