Inversion Space, the start-up that wants to make parcels rain down from space

One of the most powerful companies in the world has become one by offering a way to have just about anything delivered to your doorstep in a very short time. Hundreds of companies therefore want to recover a share of this huge express delivery cake. Some by proposing wacky innovations.

Pizza delivery robot, miniature autonomous vehicle, delivery by flying drone: everything is good so you don’t have to leave your home. Only, in the game of the crazy idea, no one probably comes close to Inversion Space, a start-up launched in 2021.

As its name more or less clearly indicates, Inversion simply wants to deliver packages from space. Obviously, no question of sending a pizza or new pillowcases, the process would be slightly too expensive. Inversion’s ambition is to send artificial organs to Earth, which could arrive in a few hours on any operating table in the world.

According to the start-up, weightlessness conditions are ideal for preserving fragile organs. His plan is to send the packages to a space station with a conventional rocket, then send them back to Earth on demand, with an accuracy of a few tens of kilometers.

In the future, the start-up hopes to expand its offer, for example by sending everything needed to set up a field hospital in a difficult area after a natural disaster. A military use is also not difficult to envisage.

head in the stars

If this project is very ambitious, it is only embryonic. Inversion Space is currently testing its capsules by dropping them from an airplane flying at an altitude of 900 meters and cushioning the descent using a parachute: we are still far from a space warehouse.

This project is one of the ideas made possible – or at least conceivable – by the arrival in the space sector of private players such as SpaceX, Blue Origin or Virgin Galactic. This new competition has considerably reduced the price of entry to space.

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Throwing a kilo into space is currently 90% cheaper than thirty years ago, explains the New York Times. Today, the starting price to reserve space in a SpaceX rocket is one million dollars (909,000 euros), a substantial but not inaccessible sum. However, Inversion refuses for the moment to provide an estimate of the price of such a delivery.

In reality, it is not so much the ascent as the descent that presents a technical challenge. The heat and vibrations generated by entering the atmosphere are particularly difficult to manage when the projectile is small.

To develop all this, Inversion joined Y Combinator, a famous Silicon Valley incubator, and raised $10 million. Venture capital firms are currently crazy about space: 7.7 billion dollars have been invested in the sector for the year 2021 alone.