Atomos Tows a $16 Million Load of Funds to Build Space Tugboats

Atomos Tows a $16 Million Load of Funds to Build Space Tugboats

You may not have realized that space requires tugboats, but now you do. Atomos Space just closed a $16.2 million Series A investment, allowing the business to finish its demonstration trip and demonstrate its docking and towing capabilities. Orbital Transfer Vehicles (OTVs), which the business is developing, allow for the repositioning of satellites in orbit. According to the hypothesis, by enabling the movement of flying objects into various orbits, they are freed from the necessity of possessing complete navigational capabilities, which should result in a significant reduction in the cost of operating spacecraft. The business says that by having it, satellite companies’ launch expenses are virtually cut in half.

The business plans to transition to nuclear OTVs, which would be able to go faster and farther and provide commercial mobility services, starting with high-powered electric propulsion systems. The company is excited to announce that it sees these propulsion systems as stepping stones. Additionally, the business is placing itself in a position to employ this technology for asteroid deflection, effectively eliminating Harry Stamper’s job. “I worked on designing launch vehicles, spacecraft propulsion systems, and new technologies for moving around in space, and I immediately recognized that the way we handle logistics in space is not ideal. The best comparison we can make is with airplanes. Consider being the only passenger on a single-use aircraft, having to bring everything with you, and being unable to shop en route. Therefore, if you want to drive about to your final destination, you must bring the automobile and gas, according to Atomos Space CEO and co-founder Vanessa Clark. In the end, it’s extremely expensive and scarce. A hub and spoke logistics paradigm for space is what we actually require.

Announcing the agenda for Sessions Space 2021
Atomos Tows a $16 Million Load of Funds to Build Space Tugboats

This enables us to carry out really fascinating commercial missions like Earth observation, international communications, and broadband internet, but it also enables us to advance as a species and carry out more deep space activities that make sense from an economic and scientific standpoint.

The business has received its third round of venture capital funding, and up to this point, its docking and propulsion systems have been constructed and tested on the ground. Flying the first vehicle is the crucial next step.

This level of autonomy is really high. We are aiming to create a self-driving satellite that can locate a client and securely hold onto it. The competitive advantage of our company, according to Clark, is that we can design our propulsion system to operate only in space, as opposed to launch vehicles that also need to be designed for entering space. Therefore, we may travel further while utilizing less propellant.

With the help of this latest round of finance, we are completing the construction of our first two vehicles, and we have scheduled a launch for less than a year from now. We are going to be flying two full-size commercial vehicles, which will make for an incredibly interesting expedition.

The technology’s initial applications include repositioning satellites mid-mission and delivering launched satellites to their ultimate locations. When a vehicle reaches the end of its useful life, it might be relocated to a graveyard orbit or a disposal orbit where it will burn up in space.

“As a corporation, our objective is to make any orbit as reachable as low Earth orbit” (LEO). On Earth, delivering a box to the next town over is all it takes to send something across the globe. Simply head to the post office. For space, we want that to be feasible, says Clark. We plan to run a fleet of orbital transit vehicles in Earth orbit that can carry out a variety of missions for a variety of clients, including operators of spacecraft and the International Space Station as well as businesses and organizations interested in exploring space outside of the atmosphere.

The business is particularly enthusiastic about nuclear propulsion in space and is making significant investments in that area, assuring us that it offers a significant increase in speed and payload capacity.

The business claims that with the current round of funding, it will increase the size of its team and introduce its first two OTVs in early 2024. The Yamauchi No. 10 Family Office, the family that founded Nintendo, and Cantos Ventures jointly led the investment, with participation from Upheaval Investments, Dolby Family Ventures, Arden Road Investments, Elefund, and Techstars.