Space Entrepreneur Lands a Load of Air Force Contracts

Jay Skylus makes a presentation at the Dawn of Private Space Science Symposium 2018 at Columbia University.

The fourth quarter of 2019 has been good for space entrepreneur Jay Skylus, the CEO of Huntsville headquartered Aevum Inc., whose primary target is launching privately owned satellites.

Aevum has yet to do its first launch, but it’s promised in 2021, and the U.S. Air Force recently showed enough faith in the operation to award to Aevum, in the last four months, three contracts totaling as much as $12 million.

In September, the Air Force awarded Aevum a $4.9 million contract to lift experimental satellites to low Earth orbit. In August followed a small business innovation research contract for Aevum’s launch and space logistics service. And in October, the Air Force assigned Aevum part of an eight-company, $986 million award for rapid launch services.

A recent blog in Forbes estimates the total of the Aevum contracts to be $12 million. A story on says the three contracts are “worth up to $11.9 million or more.”

Aevum’s business is to provide a relatively low-cost way of putting private ventures into space. Usually that means small communications satellites circling in low earth orbit. And the method of delivery, engineered by Aevum and its CEO, is to use drone rockets.

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Aevum’s Air Force contracts are based on its plans to launch its drone rockets from Jacksonville, Florida’s Cecil Spaceport. Skylus told the Jacksonville Daily Record that the selection of the Spaceport came “after an extensive evaluation process of all FAA-licensed spaceports that began in 2017.”

According to Forbes, Aevum currently has five employees and “after receiving some angel investment so far, Aevum is working on a Series A funding round, and Skylus says he is feeling optimistic about the company’s prospects. ‘We’re obviously extremely jazzed about the results of our efforts this year. It’s been a great year.’”

Aevum’s mission statement says its ultimate goal is to make telecommunications satellites affordable enough so that the internet can reach the most remote populations on earth: “Right now, there are over 3.4 billion people around the world whose stories cannot be heard because they do not have access to basic digital technologies like the internet.”

Skylus graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2013 with a baccalaureate in math and physics. His LinkedIn post says he “began studying combustion dynamics in 2005 using internal combustion engines. To fund his development, Jay Skylus operated a successful automotive hardware business on internet forums. His work was featured on the cover of a popular magazine in the UK earning him additional sponsorship from the auto industry towards his development.”

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