The ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation’s entrepreneurship prize has been awarded to Paul Lascombes for EXOTRAIL!

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The ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation's entrepreneurship prize has been awarded to Paul Lascombes for EXOTRAIL!
3:28 min
Research

8 February 2021

The ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation’s entrepreneurship prize has been awarded to Paul Lascombes for EXOTRAIL!

The ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation’s entrepreneurship prize has been awarded to Paul Lascombes, a graduate of ISAE-SUPAERO (S2017) and École Polytechnique (X2013), co-founder and Scientific Director of EXOTRAIL, founded in 2017. Exotrail is a start-up that designs and supplies transport solutions for the space sector. It markets electric propulsion systems to small satellite manufacturers.
For Paul, everything started during his studies at École Polytechnique (X2013) where he carried out a scientific project to develop an instrument to measure the thrust of an electric microthruster. Thanks to this project, which he worked on in 2014/2015, he became interested in space and in the opportunities for marketing this new kind of thruster adapted to nanosatellites. This project planted the seeds for the Exotrail adventure launched in 2015. During his studies, first at École Polytechnique and then at ISAE-SUPAERO (S2017), Paul Lascombes developed his scientific culture and his entrepreneurial culture while starting to work more and more intensely for Exotrail.
In 2017, after his end-of-studies internship at Airbus Defence and Space, he joined Exotrail full time to prepare two projects: setting up the company from a strategic and technical point of view in order to raise the initial funds, but also technical coordination that would enable him to capitalize on the knowledge acquired during development with SATT Paris-Saclay, (Société d’Accélération du Transfert de Technologies (SATT) facilitates and develops the transfer of innovations from public academic research). This was done to launch the technology foundations necessary for the demonstration mission, all with a small team of 6 people.
After raising this initial capital and a substantial increase in the team, Paul’s work turned to three main aspects connected to his title of Scientific Director:
Operational management of the software development team based in Toulouse.
Technical organization of the entire team and coordination of R&D.
His role is to constructively question the technical choices made by the development teams. He ensures the coherency of all the activities and technical interactions for the various development aspects and coordinates R&D actions.
Definition of Exotrail’s long-term strategy. He oversees discussions on the SpaceVan (orbital transport vehicle housing nanosatellites to transport them from their launch orbit to their final operational orbit) and keeps up with launch problems and in-orbit services.
The entrepreneurship prize launched by the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation in 2019 aims at encouraging entrepreneurship; the prize is a way to provide support for start-uppers in their promising, innovative projects, notably in the aviation, space and defense fields.

SapienSapienS 3:28 min

The ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation’s entrepreneurship prize has been awarded to Paul Lascombes, a graduate of ISAE-SUPAERO (S2017) and École Polytechnique (X2013), co-founder and Scientific Director of EXOTRAIL, founded in 2017. Exotrail is a start-up that designs and supplies transport solutions for the space sector. It markets electric propulsion systems to small satellite manufacturers.

For Paul, everything started during his studies at École Polytechnique (X2013) where he carried out a scientific project to develop an instrument to measure the thrust of an electric microthruster. Thanks to this project, which he worked on in 2014/2015, he became interested in space and in the opportunities for marketing this new kind of thruster adapted to nanosatellites. This project planted the seeds for the Exotrail adventure launched in 2015. During his studies, first at École Polytechnique and then at ISAE-SUPAERO (S2017), Paul Lascombes developed his scientific culture and his entrepreneurial culture while starting to work more and more intensely for Exotrail.

In 2017, after his end-of-studies internship at Airbus Defence and Space, he joined Exotrail full time to prepare two projects: setting up the company from a strategic and technical point of view in order to raise the initial funds, but also technical coordination that would enable him to capitalize on the knowledge acquired during development with SATT Paris-Saclay, (Société d’Accélération du Transfert de Technologies (SATT) facilitates and develops the transfer of innovations from public academic research). This was done to launch the technology foundations necessary for the demonstration mission, all with a small team of 6 people.

After raising this initial capital and a substantial increase in the team, Paul’s work turned to three main aspects connected to his title of Scientific Director:

Operational management of the software development team based in Toulouse.
Technical organization of the entire team and coordination of R&D.
His role is to constructively question the technical choices made by the development teams. He ensures the coherency of all the activities and technical interactions for the various development aspects and coordinates R&D actions.
Definition of Exotrail’s long-term strategy. He oversees discussions on the SpaceVan (orbital transport vehicle housing nanosatellites to transport them from their launch orbit to their final operational orbit) and keeps up with launch problems and in-orbit services.
The entrepreneurship prize launched by the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation in 2019 aims at encouraging entrepreneurship; the prize is a way to provide support for start-uppers in their promising, innovative projects, notably in the aviation, space and defense fields.

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French SUPERCAM instrument records audio from INGENUITY's Fourth flight!
Research 2:45 min

French SUPERCAM instrument records audio from INGENUITY’s Fourth flight!

2:45 min
Research

10 May 2021

French SUPERCAM instrument records audio from INGENUITY’s Fourth flight! NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ISAE-SUPAERO

Perseverance was parked 80 metres from the small rotorcraft, which rose to five metres and then hovered before flying downrange for 133 metres and returning to its take-off and landing spot. SuperCam’s science microphone, developed by ISAE-SUPAERO, recorded the sound from the helicopter’s whirring rotors during the flight. The sound registered 84 hertz, equivalent to a low E note on the piano or a bass voice type.
“This is a wonderful surprise for the science team!” said Naomi Murdoch, a research scientist with ISAESUPAERO who is studying the data captured by the microphone. “Testing in a Mars atmosphere simulator to design this instrument and our sound propagation theories led us to believe the microphone would find it very difficult to discern sounds from the helicopter. As Mars’ atmosphere is very tenuous, it really attenuates sounds. So we needed a bit of luck to pick up the helicopter from this range. We’re thrilled to have obtained this recording, which is going to be a gold mine for our understanding of the planet’s atmosphere.”
Developed jointly by ISAE-SUPAERO and a consortium of laboratories attached to the French national scientific research centre CNRS and partner laboratories, coordinated by CNES, SuperCam’s microphone is derived from a consumer model adapted to withstand the Martian environment. The microphone is pursuing three science and technology goals of the Mars 2020 mission:
Study the sounds generated by laser impacts on Martian rocks to better understand their surface mechanical properties.
- Seek to gain new insights into surface atmospheric phenomena such as wind turbulence, dust devils and wind interactions with the rover, and now with the helicopter.
- Analyse the sound signature of the rover’s movements, for example when it is using its robot arm, driving on flat or rugged terrain, and operating its pumps.
The microphone was first turned on a few hours after Perseverance’s landing, picking up the first sounds on Mars from atmospheric turbulence. It is used daily in combination with laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) to analyse the chemical make-up of Martian rocks.
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