Welcome to the latest issue of our no-BS weekly space wrap-up focused on the smallsat market. This week, we’re shining a spotlight on some game-changing news that’s set to reshape the industry: Axiom Space has just secured a staggering $350 million in Series C, and Starfish Space has successfully brought its Otter Pup spacecraft back to life. Whether you’re an investor, a space enthusiast, or someone who likes to stay updated on cutting-edge technology, the Precious Weekly smallsat report has something for you.
Precious Weekly: August 28 — September 3, 2023
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🇺🇸 Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket is set to launch the US Space Force’s 🚀VICTUS NOX mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The mission, part of the Tactically Responsive Space (TacRS) program, aims to establish on-orbit operations in a matter of days instead of traditional months and years. The launch serves as a precursor to the upcoming VICTUS HAZE mission. [SmallsatNews]
🇪🇺 ESA delays Ariane 6 hot-fire test once more due to “technical issue affecting the control bench” at the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana. Originally planned for August 29, the test has been rescheduled for September 5, with a longer test firing still on track for September 26. This comes after previous delays, pushing the inaugural launch of Ariane 6 to 2024. [SpaceNews]
Cosmic inspiration: 🇺🇸 Deployed in July, Starfish Space’s Otter Pup spacecraft has finally been stabilized after enduring six weeks of chaotic spinning in orbit and two onboard computer failures. [Starfish Space]
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Funding, Grants, and Contracts
- 🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia’s Aljazira Capital and 🇰🇷 South Korea’s pharma company Boryung Co., a multi-round investor in Axiom Space, led a $350M Series C funding. The investment will facilitate the development of Axiom’s new space station module, scheduled for launch to the ISS by 2026. Additional modules are in the pipeline to expand Axiom Station, aiming for independent operation from the ISS by 2031, in line with anticipated ISS retirement. [Axiom Space]
- 🇮🇳 SatSure, an Indian Earth observation data firm, has secured $15M in a Series A round led by Baring Private Equity Partners and Promus Ventures. Satsure plans a fleet of four high resolution optical and multispectral satellites to be launched in Q4 2025. [Satsure]
- 🇯🇵 GITAI, a Japanese space robotics startup, has secured an additional $15M, elevating its Series B extension round to a total of $45M. The funds are tagged for business growth in the US and to partially finance its lunar surface tech demo. [GITAI]
- 🇺🇸 Intuitive Machines has announced a $20M equity investment. The company is still on track with its lunar missions but this investment will provide the financial cushion needed for immediate operational execution and customer service as the company takes on significant new projects, including NASA’s $719 million OMES III contract. [Intuitive Machines]
- 🇫🇮 ReOrbit secures $7.4M in oversubscribed Seed funding to “deliver multiple space systems”, led by Inventure VC. The company aims to launch small GEO telecommunications satellites. [ReOrbit]
- 🇺🇸 TransAstra wins an $850K NASA Phase-2 SBIR contract to create an inflatable capture bag for orbital debris cleanup, in collaboration with 🇺🇸 ThinkOrbital. [SpaceNews]
- 🇨🇦MDA buys 🇬🇧SatixFy Space Systems, a UK subsidiary of 🇮🇱Israeli satcom manufacturer SatixFy, for $40M to enhance its next-gen satellite capabilities, following a recent $1.6B contract with 🇨🇦Telesat. The deal also includes a $20M advance for payload chips that SatixFy specializes in. [SatixFy]
🇦🇺 Australian startup Spiral Blue is inviting developers to run custom code on their SE-1 computer aboard a Satellogic satellite in low-Earth orbit. [SpaceNews]
Opportunity for commercial sector: 🇺🇸 NASA’s Deep Space Network is facing challenges with its aging infrastructure and increasing demand, calling for urgent upgrades. [Ars Technica]
Discover our smallsat updates from last week – read now!