LEOStartups

E-Space Announces $50M in Seed Funding

Via NASA

On Monday, E-Space came right out of the gate with ambitious mega-constellation aspirations. The startup has raised a $50M seed from Prime Movers Lab, which it says will fully fund two “beta” satellite test batches, launching in March and then the end of 2022. E-Space also claims that mass production is set to begin in 2023.

Composed of independent French and US entities, E-Space is led by Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks (acquired by SES) and OneWeb (rescued by the UK government and India’s Bharti Global). While E-Space’s Feb. 7 press release is light on details, Wyler elaborated on his new venture in interviews with the FT and SpaceNews:

  1. E-Space envisions a multipurpose 100,000-satellite constellation.   
  2. The startup’s future constellation is pacing to cost “a fraction” of existing LEO fleets. “The historical model of spending $5B–$10B is broken,” Wyler told the FT.
  3. E-Space acquired licenses to frequencies and orbital shells through Rwanda. Last year, the African nation applied for an International Telecommunications Union license to launch 300,000+ satellites.

Should even a fraction of E-Space’s constellation be deployed, it’d likely provoke concerns about contributing to over-congestion in LEO. E-Space tried to address this from the get-go and stressed five “sustainable” design principles: 1) “minimize satellite debris on collision,” 2) “capture and deorbit,” 3) “fail safe,” 4) “100% demise,” and 5) “small cross section.” 

+ A learning lesson? “OneWeb was captive to its shareholders for products,” Wyler told the FT. “All the cost growth came from the shareholders.”

Related Stories
BusinessLEO

Max Space Unveils Expandable Habitat

Shooting a Beyonce music video in zero gravity, farming to feed astronauts on the Moon, and storing fuel in orbit could all become possible with a new expandable space habitat designed and built by Max Space,, cofounder Aaron Kemmer told Payload.

LEO

NASA and Boeing Are (Finally) Putting Astronauts on Starliner

Starliner is finally ready for its maiden mission—seven years after the capsule was expected to make its first flight.

StartupsTechnology

Benchmark Sends Metal Plasma Propulsion to Orbit

The company already has 50 orders for the thruster.

StartupsTechnology

Aethero Wants to Bring Edge Compute Into Orbit

The next generation of space capabilities, such as orbital servicing, will require even brainier orbiting robots.