Space

In-space shuttle service, Momentus, raises $25.5 million as investments climb for ‘new space’ tech

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Image Credits: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (opens in a new window) / Flickr (opens in a new window) under a CC BY 2.0 (opens in a new window) license.

With commercial launch services expected to reach $7 billion by 2024, there’s increasing demand for an array of new technologies that can offer advantages to companies looking to get communications infrastructure in orbit.

That’s one of the reasons behind the new $25.5 million financing for Momentus, which sells in-space shuttle services to move satellites between orbits.

The company joins other satellite and telecommunications technology vendors like Akash Systems, which raised $14.5 million for its advanced telecommunications chipsets used in satellites, that have raised money from investors looking beyond basic launch services.

A motley assortment of venture capital firms, hedge funds, family offices and other institutional investors came in to finance the new round of funding for Momentus including: Y Combinator, the Lerner Family, the University of Wyoming Foundation, Quiet Capital, Mountain Nazca, ACE & Co., Liquid 2 Ventures and Drake Management. The financing was led by Prime Movers Lab.

With $34 million in funding to date, Momentus said it will use its new cash to continue the development of its two shuttles designed to move payloads between different orbits. As the space in space fills up, the ability to maneuver payloads once they reach low Earth orbit will become more important.

“In the past 18 months, Momentus has rapidly matured their water plasma propulsion system to deliver the world’s safest and most affordable in-space transportation services. They recently launched their first demonstration and are on track to radically reshape the landscape of the space economy,” said Dakin Sloss, founder and general partner at Prime Movers Lab, in a statement. “I look forward to Momentus delivering on their massive backlog of contracts and partnerships with NASA, SpaceX and other top players in the space ecosystem.”

A backlog of contracts is impressive, but the down payment on a potential flight is minimal compared to the ability to get on a vehicle, so companies tend to spread the wealth.

The money will also pay for building in-house research and development for the company’s technology and additional flight demonstrations throughout 2020, according to Momentus chief executive Mikhail Kokorich. The company expects to generate its first revenue next year, as well, Kokorich said.

The company has three flights scheduled for 2020.

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