Co-founder of spacecraft propulsion company has always had passion for the sky
By Debra Werner|June 2019
István Lörincz, 31, chief business officer and co-founder of Morpheus Space
During his childhood in Transylvania, Romania, István Lörincz had a flash of insight that set the initial trajectory for his career. He went on to attend universities in Romania, the Netherlands and Germany before co-founding Morpheus Space, a satellite propulsion spinoff of the University of Dresden. In February, Morpheus demonstrated the first electric propulsion for a single-unit cubesat, measuring only 10 centimeters on a side.
How did you become an engineer?
During the last weekend I spent with my late father, we built a large kite. While trying to make it take off in our backyard, I dreamed about flying myself. In that moment, even though I was only 12, I knew my life would be oriented toward the sky. A couple of years later, I became a paraglider pilot, achieving my dream of flying. My passion for aviation shifted toward the stars at the Polytechnic University of Bucharest thanks to a professor who was passionate about rocket science. Although the university did not offer rocket science lectures or degrees, this professor organized secret evening lectures for a few students. Through his passion and mentorship, I stepped into the world of space propulsion technologies and designed my first plasma rocket. I carried on the search for breakthrough space propulsion technologies, earning a master’s degree in space systems engineering at Delft University of Technology and a Ph.D. at the Technical University of Dresden, before co-founding Morpheus Space. My main responsibilities within the company are the market launch, business development and, most importantly, I am the interface between our clients and our team.
Imagine the world in 2050. What do you think will be happening in space?
Any optimistic image of our world set three decades in the future must contain flying cars. But setting aside our dreams of not sitting in traffic jams all day, the upcoming decades will need to contain a few important turning points for our global civilization. One is acceptance that knowledge must be treated as an indivisible entity and not fragmented into an ever-increasing number of fields. Another turning point will be when a space infrastructure is firmly established. We are now seeing the beginnings of a new era, where we start to think broadly about space as a resource. Space-based technologies will offer significant solutions to a number of serious global issues like nutrition, disaster management and climate. I expect that the overall life quality will rise due to these new solutions. It is also very exciting to think about space tourism, which looks as if it could be realized sooner than flying cars.