Atomos is towing $16 million to build tugs in space

Atomos is towing  million to build tugs in space

You may not know that tugs need space, but now you do, and Atomos Space just completed a $16.2 million Series A investment that will allow the company to expand its entire demonstration mission, where it will demonstrate its docking capabilities. The company is building a range of Orbital Transfer Vehicles (OTVs) that can be used to move satellites in space. The theory states that because they can launch flying objects into different orbits, flying objects don’t need to have full navigation capabilities, which in turn should make piloting the spacecraft much cheaper. The company claims its existence effectively halves launch costs for satellite operators.

The company is starting with high-performance electric propulsion systems and is pleased to share that it sees these propulsion methods as springboards to its nuclear OTV options that can travel faster, further and offer commercial mobility services. The company is also positioning itself to be able to use these technologies for deflecting asteroids, effectively making Harry Stamper lose his job.

“I worked on the design of the launch vehicle and then the design of the spacecraft propulsion system and also some advanced space motion technologies and I quickly realized that the way we are handling space logistics is not ideal. The best analogy we use is with airplanes. Imagine you are on a one-way trip, you are the only passenger and you have to take everything with you, without being able to shop along the way. So if you want to drive to your final destination, you have to take the car and fuel with you,” explains Vanessa Clark, CEO and co-founder of Atomos Space. “Ultimately it is too expensive and too limited. What we really need is a hub-and-ghost logistics model for space. It allows us to do really cool things, commercial missions like Earth observation, global communications, broadband internet, but it also allows us to take the next step as a species and do more things in space that are economically and from a perspective make sense. scientific. .”

This is the company’s third round of funding and so far the company has built and tested it on the ground, including the mooring and propulsion systems. The next big step is to blow up the first vehicle.

“It is very autonomous. We are working on an autonomous satellite that can safely detect, navigate and capture a customer. We have the opportunity to optimize our propulsion system so that it can only be used in space, as opposed to a launch vehicle that also has to be designed for space flight,” Clark emphasizes the company’s competitive advantage. “That means we go further and use less fuel. With this new round of financing, we are finalizing the construction of our first two vehicles, which are expected to be launched in just under 12 months. It will be a very exciting mission to drive two full-size commercial vehicles.”

The technology’s first use cases are to deliver launched satellites to their final destinations and reposition them during the mission. When vehicles reach the end of their life, they can be moved to cemeteries or waste yards to burn up in the atmosphere.

“Our goal as a company is to make any job as affordable as low Earth orbit (LEO). If you want to ship something abroad on Earth, it’s as easy as sending a package to the nearest city. You just need to go to the post office. We want to make that possible spatially,” explains Clark. “We want to operate a fleet of orbital transit vehicles in orbit that can provide extended missions to a variety of customers, spacecraft, space station operators, as well as companies and government agencies looking to explore beyond the atmosphere.”

The company is particularly enthusiastic about nuclear propulsion in space and is investing heavily in it, telling us it offers an order of magnitude improvement in speed and payload.

With the current funding round, the company aims to double the size of the team and launch the first two OTVs in early 2024. The investment was made by Cantos Ventures and Yamauchi No. 10 Family Office (this is the family that Nintendo founded). , with participation from Upheaval Investments, Dolby Family Ventures, Arden Road Investments, Elefund and Techstars.

Source: La Neta Neta