Loft Orbital has just collected $13 million more to fund the development of a network of lightweight satellite systems intended to provide transport of a combination of payloads from clients that do not want to launch their satellites.
Foundation Capital pioneered the inaugural round involving Swell Partners, Kima Ventures, GFA Ventures, and Cendana Capital. I a statement released by the company on November 13, the round brought the sum of Loft Orbital’s non-dilutive capital to 20 million dollars. Sunil Nagaraj has also invested in Loft Orbital Series A through Ubiquity VC, which he created after his departure from Bessemer. He had formerly invested in Rocket Lab and Spire while he was the principal of Bessemer Venture Partners.
The first satellite of the San Francisco-based company, YAM-2, is set to launch on a new Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The vehicle is under an arrangement with Spaceflight, rideshare company in Seattle, said Alex Greenberg, co-founder and operations manager at Loft Orbital in a statement on November 13. A prototype project named YAM-1, short for Yet Another Mission, had been scrapped so that consumer payloads will start flying effortlessly, he added.
The company will deliver five payloads in a mission designated YAM-2. The package includes an Internet of Things telecommunications satellite for Eutelsat, an image from the UAE government, a satellite positioning payload from Fugro, and a methane detector from Orbital Sidekick. Loft Orbital states that its spacecraft will have a total weight of 100 kilograms after loading the consumer payloads. Greenberg further divulged that the YAM-3 is booked 85%I mostly by returning customers and the YAM-4 by a Fortune 100 corporation on behalf of a space agency of an unnamed nation.
To provide its services, Loft Orbital buys satellite buses from spacecraft manufacturers and equipping the spacecraft with payloads from clients at a fee for transport in the satellite. Thirty people own the company. The YAM-2 mission will use a satellite bus from Blue Canyon Technologies, a satellite producing company based in Colorado. Loft Orbital has not yet released details on who would manufacture buses for the 2020 and 2021 YAM-3 and YAM-4 missions, respectively. According to Greenberg, however, the company will select a manufacturer before the year-end.
While the deployment of the vehicles had fallen behind schedule for a few months as the YAM-2 and YAM-4 were being prepared, Greenberg expressed optimism that the company would deploy the two satellites in its plan within the next two years.
This post was originally published on Food and Beverage Herald