Launch vehicle startup Isar Aerospace raises an additional $ 75 million in funding – TechCrunch

In recent years, a host of launch startups have emerged to help meet the growing demand from satellite providers, biotech companies, and others looking to send payloads into space. One of those startups is that of Germany Isar Aerospace Technologies, which focuses on the construction of orbital launch vehicles designed to carry up to 1,000 kilograms to low Earth orbit.

The startup made headlines last December, including here at TechCrunch, for landing a $ 91 million Series B, the largest round to date on the European space launch scene. Now the company says it has raised an additional $ 75 million in a Series B extension, bringing the total round to more than $ 165 million.

The extension round was led by HV Capital, Porsche SE and Lombard Odier banking group. Existing investors Earlybird Venture Capital, Lakestar, Vsquared Ventures, Apeiron Investment Group and UVC Partners also participated, with Earlybird underwriting the largest amount. Earlybird and Airbus Ventures led Isar’s $ 17 million Series A in December 2019.

The involvement of Porsche SE, a major Volkswagen shareholder, is particularly interesting as it indicates growing interest from established mobility investors in connectivity and space-enabled technologies.

“As an investor focusing on mobility and industrial technology, we are convinced that flexible and cost-effective access to space will be a key driver for innovations in traditional industries, as well as for new and disruptive technologies and business models.” said the executive board of Porsche SE said member Lutz Meschke in a statement. “We are therefore excited to support Isar Aerospace on its way to become Europe’s leading small launcher and to satisfy the growing appetite for launch services.”

The funding is likely to provide a significant boost for continued development and manufacturing as the company approaches its first planned test flight in 2022.

Isar began production of its inaugural launch vehicle, the Spectrum rocket, this year. Spectrum is a two-stage vehicle that is designed for lightweight delivery to low Earth orbit. The idea is to create a launcher that can move quickly and inexpensively for small satellite companies. Isar aims to conduct engine tests in Kiruna, Sweden, and launch operations in nearby Andøya, Norway, thanks to a 20-year agreement with Andøya Space for exclusive access to one of its launch pads. In particular, Isar has already secured its first paying customer, Airbus Defense and Space, and said in a statement that it plans to announce more contracts soon.

The startup grew out of the Technical University of Munich, where co-founders Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann and Markus Brandl were studying engineering. While many of the new waves of startup companies are based in the United States, Isar is leading a parallel wave in Germany.

“A competitive and diverse space ecosystem will be crucial for humanity for decades to come,” Isar CEO Daniel Metzler said in a statement. “We are convinced that European cooperation, a level playing field for all players and a demand-driven approach will provide customers with access to different and internationally competitive launch capabilities for a wide spectrum of payloads. The United States has shown that fundamental contracts based on demand, rather than political parameters, are paving the way for innovation and growth in the space sector. “

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