German launch startup Isar Aerospace has closed a €155M ($167.3M) Series C funding round. The company has now raised over €300M ($323.9M) and is fully funded up to and beyond its first flight.
With this latest round of funding, Isar cements its position as the most well-funded European launch startup. The next most successful is Orbex with just over €114M ($123M). Orbex is also the only other European launch startup to have raised more than €100M ($107.9M).
Isar is developing its 28m Spectrum launch vehicle, which is designed to carry up to 1,000-kg payloads to LEO. The rocket is expected to make its maiden flight in 2023 from Andøya Spaceport in Norway.
Key players: The company’s Series C was backed by newcomers 7-Industries Holding and Bayern Kapital via its ScaleUp Fund, in addition to existing investors Earlybird Venture Capital, HV Capital, Lakestar, Lombard Odier, Porsche SE, UVC Partners, and Vsquared Ventures. Porsche SE and HV Capital will, as a result of their contributions to the round, join Isar’s advisory board with 7-Industries Holding joining in an observer capacity.
Isar plans to utilize the funding to continue work towards its inaugural flight, ramp up production, and build on the company’s automated production capabilities. It will also go towards the development of currently undisclosed new initiatives and products.
More than $$: In addition to its success securing funding, Isar has been equally successful securing customers. According to the company, its first year of operational flight is already fully booked.
In January, the company landed its first US customer with Spaceflight, Inc. signing on for a dedicated Spectrum flight in 2026. The contract included a provision for a second Spectrum flight in 2025.
The company also recently revealed that it has already completed 124 hot first tests of its Aquila rocket engine over the past 12 months. Nine of the engines will power Spectrum’s first stage while a single vacuum-optimized Aquila engine will power its second stage.
Reading the tea leaves: Isar appears to be well on its way to being a successful launch company. However, if the first few months of 2023 have taught us anything, it’s that developing a brand-new rocket is no easy task. Only time will tell if Isar can successfully execute a maiden flight where others have failed.