You are currently reading Issue 180: Women in Space, May 2024

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Space is our playground: Building the infrastructure of the future and being part of a space adventure like no other

Daniela Jovic, Chief Commercial Officer at Spacemanic

Daniela Jovic - Spacemanic

Daniela Jovic is chief commercial officer at Spacemanic, a company that provides innovative nanosatellite solutions, revolutionising access to space. The company’s plug-and-play approach simplifies mission deployment, expanding space exploration to a wider audience. With flight-proven platforms and expert guidance throughout the satellite lifecycle, Spacemanic empowers clients to achieve their goals with confidence, making space exploration more accessible and impactful.

Daniela Jovic - Spacemanic
Daniela Jovic

“We simply love the idea that these days, anyone and everyone with various budget sizes, knowledge levels, and different needs can be part of space exploration. Space simply does not discriminate.”

Living the space dream

Now this is a funny story, as my education has absolutely nothing in common with engineering, IT, tech, or space. I am a translator and interpreter. I studied languages, and I would say the gift of the gab is my forte. Hence, a career in sales and marketing was quite inevitable for me. I come from Slovakia and I live in Croatia, working for a Czech company dealing with international customers. Living the dream, right?

After getting my Master’s degree, I got my first job in 2011 in telecommunications. For 13 years I have been building my career with a passion, but I felt something was missing. During COVID, I started volunteering for a non-profit, the Slovak Organisation for Space Activities, and I coincidentally got to know the owner and founder of Spacemanic, Jakub Kapuš. Luckily, he understood that a communicator like me could be beneficial for his business venture, and offered me an opportunity I couldn’t turn down — being part of a space adventure like no other!

Making access to space as easy as ordering a cab

In simple words, we build satellites and send them to space. More precisely, Spacemanic is a turnkey nanosatellite mission provider and a CubeSat components manufacturer based in Brno, Czech Republic. It means we either deliver complete nanosatellite platforms to our customers, or separate subsystems, so anyone can build a satellite on their own.

Daniela Jovic - SpacemanicOur platform is based on plug-and-play (PnP) methodology, meaning it is assembled much like LEGO, which accelerates mission deployment, enabling broader access to space for scientific, tech, or private customers. It is ideal for diverse applications including rapid-response solutions for the defence sector, or technological IOD/IOV (in orbit display/in orbit valuation) missions.

Spacemanic has extensive ‘flight heritage’, meaning we have either completely built, launched, or in other ways participated in seven satellite missions. We like to say we make access to space as easy as ordering a cab!

The role of a chief commercial officer

My responsibilities are centred around communication inside and outside the company. I take care of the PR, marketing, sales, and every customer-related need. Last but not least, I represent Spacemanic at space industry conferences around the globe. My day is usually a whirlwind of phone calls, video meetings, and emails. I try to stay on top of all the industry trends, so I am actively reading LinkedIn, and various newsletters, to see what the space sector is up to! As I am trying to bring new business to the company, I am doing a lot of research and focusing on reading up on new opportunities, open challenges, and projects.

As I work remotely, I am recharging my batteries in a reversed way: While everyone else is happy to have a bit of quiet downtime, I thrive at conferences, trade shows, having in-person meetings, giving lectures, and having face-to-face interactions with clients, partners, and most importantly my amazing colleagues.

Different perspectives bring novel ideas

I like to think about humanity as one species on our beautiful planet. That is why I despise any type of discrimination and am trying to lead by example. I am a woman without an engineering background in a highly technical and (still) male-dominated industry. It is not always easy, but it is super important. And why? Different perspectives bring novel ideas and approaches to problem-solving. Diverse teams are more likely to come up with innovative solutions to complex challenges.

Space exploration also raises many ethical questions about its impact on Earth and the rest of the cosmos. Diversity of thought helps to address all these concerns by incorporating a wide range of values, beliefs, and perspectives into decision-making processes. Space, if nothing else, should bring us together as a human race, no questions asked.

Smaller satellites, lower costs, easier access to space

Daniela Jovic - SpacemanicThese days we have supercomputers in the palms of our hands, and in the same way, the space industry is booming. The miniaturisation of electronics has impacted the industry on so many different levels. The biggest change that it brought is in terms of accessibility. The recipe is simple: Smaller satellites, lower costs, easier access to space. Nowadays we can have satellite constellations of mini-satellites for various purposes, including Earth observation, communication, and scientific research. This accessibility democratises access to space, allowing more entities to participate in space missions and projects, and that is what space is all about!

In Spacemanic, we pride ourselves on being able to ‘squeeze’ powerful scientific or technological devices into impossibly small spaces, thanks to our plug-and-play platform. The Lego-like individual components fit together nicely, leaving a lot of room for customers’ experiments.

We simply love the idea that these days, anyone and everyone with various budget sizes, knowledge levels, and different needs can be part of space exploration. Space simply does not discriminate.

Our proudest milestones

The first milestone that got us going was participating in the ESA Business Incubation Centre. Subsequently, we were picked as the TOP 20 EU space startups for the first batch of the Cassini Business Accelerator. These opportunities have moulded us and taught us how to transform our vision into reality. Another great milestone has been the landing of our first ESA (European Space Agency) project. The fact that ESA considered it worth their while has reassured us we are doing things right!

Currently, every customer we make happy with a successful launch and operation of the CubeSat we made for them is a milestone in itself. And I am proud to state that we have had a 100% mission success rate so far.

Let’s connect!

I invite the entire community to join my own and Spacemanic’s LinkedIn network or reach out. Apart from sharing space industry-related news, we strive to promote space exploration, science, and technological projects that benefit the community. They are also more than welcome to visit our website, where they can get more in-depth information about the CubeSat platforms and their use. And should they want to send anything to space, they just need to drop us an email and we will do make it happen!

Coming up next

We are currently working on multiple exciting projects and are looking forward to two mission launches this year. The first one is the first Croatian satellite, CroCube. This nonprofit mission is especially dear to me as I am the leader of the project and have been working very hard to make it a reality for a couple of years now. Having gathered an amazing team of volunteers who put their skills, time, and effort into this, I could not be prouder as of how far we have come!

The satellite is going to fly onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 mission as a part of a rideshare mission this year. The second is the GRBBeta, a gamma-ray burst detection satellite, that is set to launch onboard the maiden flight of the brand new ESA rocket, Ariane 6

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