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Alumni Spotlight Series: Miguel Seun Cardoso, European Operations Lead, Xona Space Systems (MIF ‘19)


The mission at Xona is simple, we want to enable modern and intelligent systems to operate safely in any environment anywhere on Earth and we're doing this by building the first commercially owned and operated constellation of navigation satellites to support the age of autonomy- think "Super GPS". GPS/GNSS is the invisible infrastructure that powers modern civilization- it's more than just the blue dot on your phone that tells you your location. Everything from finance, agriculture and power distribution is supported by GNSS, and future applications like autonomous vehicles, drones and robotics are becoming more reliant on GNSS. One of my main hats entails working with these diverse industries to ensure what we are building meets their needs.

Interest in Space Tech

Personally, I've always found the industry quite fascinating and kept an eye on the trends in it. Nowadays you have reusable rockets being launched weekly and satellites the size of a shoe box being deployed at scale thanks to companies building mega-constellations. This has made space accessible and manufacturing cheaper for small private companies to operate in, compared to what would traditionally be the domain of large government organizations. The effect of this is a burgeoning space economy, Space2.0. Whether it's a new generation of GNSS satellites powering autonomy, Earth observation satellites helping tackle climate change or in-space manufacturing, the possibilities are endless, the sky is no longer the limit. I'm excited about the journey ahead. Fun fact: There has been over USD1.4 trillion in economic benefits in the US alone by GPS since 2010!

General Advice

For working in Space Tech: Firstly, its a super exciting time to consider the space sector, there are numerous companies cropping up that are looking for talent and you have the opportunity to contribute to something with a real world/planet impact! Secondly, there are a number of venture capital firms investing in the sector, I'd say start by looking at their portfolio companies and reach out.

For working at Xona: Since we are a fast growing start-up operating in a new industry this of course comes with its own unique set of challenges. Being a problem solver and having a willingness to learn and take initiative are crucial. Engineering backgrounds also help, at the end of the day it is a deep tech company.

Reflections on the LBS Experience

I wish I'd known how fast time would fly by! It's a relatively short period of time trying to balance networking, travelling, learning and recruiting. Time management is very important to make the most of the LBS experience.

The TMC Alumni Spotlight series features LBS alumni working in tech and media across the globe. To stay connected and up to date on TMC's Alumni Engagement initiatives please join the LBS Tech & Media Student & Alumni LinkedIn group https://www.linkedin.com/groups/9080226/.

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