Looks to be a strong year for space investments and more broadly distributed that previous year: Will 2018 Advance Venture Capital’s Own Space Odyssey? – WSJ
Space startups have raised more than $692 million spread over 26 deals so far this year, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.
That puts the sector’s deal-making pace already ahead of last year’s 25 funding rounds, and it could end up being one of the industry’s biggest years yet. The standing record is the $1.14 billion invested in 2015, but that included a single $1 billion round raised by SpaceX.
Most of the deals lately center on startups that are innovating satellite services and related technology. In June, SpinLaunch Inc., a U.S. company focused on low-cost launches for small satellites, raised a $40 million Series A round from investors including GV and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
Relativity Space has done well investment-wise with “over $45 million in private funding from investors including Mark Cuban, Playground Global, Social Capital, and Y Combinator.” Relativity Space CEO on 3D Printing Rockets in 60 Days – Via Satellite.
But, who will the future customers be? Relativity is building a customer manifest from both commercial and government sectors. Primarily at 1,250 kilogram max payload, it will be able to cost effectively launch Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations for both initial deployment and resupply missions. “At this size, entire orbital planes of smaller satellites are served at extremely reduced costs and call up times while still getting a dedicated launch. Additionally, much larger single or double satellite missions in the 500-1,250kg class are able to resupply their fleet at similar cost per satellite to the initial deployment,” Ellis said.
In terms of profitability, Ellis added that “profitability is achievable with fewer launches than normal; however, we will reinvest early revenues to continue growing the business and meet our customer’s needs. Relativity’s long-term goal is to 3D print the first rocket made on Mars. Building intelligent manufacturing technologies is essential to scaling and sustaining an interplanetary society.”
Private Chinese rocket developer LandSpace takes a step towards launching the company’s first orbital rocket this year: Chinese private space company to launch first carrier rocket – Xinhua | English.news.cn
The 19-meter-long rocket has a 1.35-meter diameter, a takeoff weight of 27 tonnes and thrust of 45 tonnes. It is flexible, cost-efficient and has been designed with mature technology and fast response ability.
“After nine months of development, the rocket completed the final assembly Monday and entered the launching phase, showing that the company is capable of making rockets,” Zhang said.