Here is an article about Brian Stofiel and his small company Stofiel Aerospace, which is developing a balloon launched rocket system (sometimes referred to as a “rockoon” design) for orbiting smallsats: St. Louis startup hopes to compete for commercial space flight business | stltoday.com
… he adds, “what is new is we don’t have any metal in our rocket. The engine of the rocket is all ceramics and composites,” which are less expensive.
“So we 3D print out of plastic the rocket,” he said. “We apply a heat-resistant ceramic replacing the plastic.”
This video from Stofiel also profiles him and his company:
Another small space startup, Solstar Space Co., aims to provide a range of low cost communications services for space activities including Wi-Fi services on spaceflights. They have tested their system on a Blue Origin New Shepard flight: Tweet from Space – Solstar
Solstar® develops proprietary technologies and payload & space communicator products, providing commercial internet/communications services to astronauts and machines in space. Our services also enable earth-based customers 24/7 direct access to experiments, cubesats, machines, and colleagues located in space, via their smart phones, or any other internet connected device.
The company is currently attempting to raise investment via crowd-funding: New Mexico tech firm crowdfunding for Wi-Fi space project | Miami Herald
Solstar Space Co. founder and CEO M. Brian Barnett filed an offering statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking approval to raise investment capital through the online crowdfunding platform Wefunder.com, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. He filed the offering statement last week.
Barnett said he is looking to raise $1 million in equity funding through the site. The campaign is soliciting investments, not donations, he said, adding: “There are perks.”
The crowd-funding campaign info can be found at Solstar Space Company | The first commercial Wi-Fi in space | Wefunder.