Chloe is only 19 years old but she didn’t wait for the right age to start the greatest project of her (young) life. What were you doing when you were 12? Chloe always had this nerdy vibe inside her and, of course, a smart mind, which brings her to write code and to develop small add-ons for the 3D building simulator videogame Minecraft in her infanthood. She joined the START incubator program at EuraTechnologies with the intent to bring the New Space « Nouvelle Vague » to Europe with Hydrogen Aero. Because, you know, entrepreneurship is not rocket science. A kid can do it. Can’t she?
« Some of my friends achieve their studies better than I did », Chloe began. She has in her closest circle people who choose to become aerospace engineers when she studies computer science (BTS SIO). She’s still living at her parents’ in Béthune (45 kms from Lille) but one day, she woke up eager to disrupt the old space industry with her project Alhena, a reusable cost-reducing rocketship launcher.
Her first public speaking was in high school: she did a presentation about the importance of rocketships reusal. Then, she pitched Hydrogen Aero later, in 2021, at SpaceCon, in front of a few VIPs members of the CNES. The young girl didn’t win the prize (an incubation at IncubAlliance, in Paris) but she received strong support from her peers and mentors to keep on going on this project.
Fictive company but genuine ideas
And how has she got this idea? « I love to play to Kerbal Space Program, a videogame based on an orbital mechanics simulator and I asked myself if rocket landing was a job you can have in real life ». Chloe started building a fake company to test her business model and rolled out a marketing strategy that went viral: « It went so well that some aerospace media were tricked ! ». She developed 6 programs for KSP from her bedroom. If it sounds like a children game to you, to Chloe, it was the very first steps of her tech entrepreneur’s life: « The code I wrote for my KSP’s programs is huge. It’s working as an AI and I did it from September 2017 to March 2021 ! »
And so, how did she land on EuraTechnologies and how did Hydrogen Aero become a real project? She answered: « My grandma lives 5 minutes away from there… I know the place since forever ! ». Her roleplay as a tech entrepreneur in Kerbal Space Program gave her the basis to bring the project into real life: « Even if it was just a game, I learned a lot, especially why communication is so important for a company. » Chloe defines herself as a bit patriotic and proud of her region: « I want Europe to stay on the run for Space. We have a strong move to make ! In France, it’s like there’s Toulouse and the nothingness around… Why not Lille ? » she asks.
How to Uberize Space?
Hydrogen Aero is a project which belongs to the New Space tech industry. Hydrogen Aero gathers a team of 10 passionate volunteers with a great diversity of profiles and fields of expertise, who are convinced they can uberize the actual rocketship European business plan and make rocketship launchers cheaper and more efficient. « Since my childhood, I saw the birth of RocketLab, SpaceX, Astra, and Vega… Rules have changed. Our space engineers used to think rocket landing is stupid. Elon Musk turned the tables ».
What is the value proposition? Alhena is a rocketship able to carry 2900 kilograms and to bring a satellite in a polar orbit to map the Earth from there, for example. This – at first – student project began in May 2021. Chloe Mathon aims at dramatically reducing the production costs of a rocketship until 20 to 25 million euros. « Our project is basically a scholar bus for space. We want to do carpooling for satellites, but with a rocketship! » Chloe affirms.
The only parts of Alhena to burn in the atmosphere are the 2nd stage and the kick-stage (3rd), which also can be used as a satellite. 70% of the remaining parts can be recovered. And what about the competitors in the market? « Our principal competitors are in North America but there’s still a void in Europe. The new space « startup » revolution hasn’t arrived yet ».
… And how to be this bold at 19?
Chloe Mathon is not Elon Musk-ette, but she already craves for success. When you ask her about her being bold, she just replies: « I still live at my parents’, I have no wife, husband or children and nothing to lose…except my time. So, why not? »
Welcome to EuraTech, Chloe, you’re a badass!