Slingshot Aerospace, an Austin-based space situational awareness company, has raised a $25M Series A-1, co-led by Draper Associates and ATX Venture Partners.
- Edison Partners, Embedded Ventures, Valor Equity Partners, and Lockheed Martin Ventures also participated in the round.
- The company had raised a $9.6M Series A in October 2020, which brings the total Series A and A-1 fundraising to $34.6M, and the total fundraising to date to $42M.
Slingshot 101: “Slingshot is singularly focused on space sustainability,” Melanie Stricklan, CEO of Slingshot and 21-year US Air Force veteran, told Payload. Slingshot is aiming to make sure space remains accessible through space situational awareness tracking to mitigate the risks facing governments and companies operating in Earth orbit.
Those risks, according to Stricklan:
- Exponential growth in launches, satellites and megaconstellations
- Uncontrolled space debris
- Crowded spectrum environment
- Aggressive geopolitical behavior on orbit
- Coverage gaps between providers using different models
“The vast majority of investment is going into more hardware, more rockets, more satellites, more components,” said Stricklan. “Now, it’s time for a digital revolution when it comes to removing that uncertainty and reducing risk on orbit to preserve those assets that are so vital to our way of life today.”
Building Beacon: Slingshot Beacon is the company’s collision avoidance and communications platform, where government, commercial, and civil users can cross-coordinate to manage on-orbit assets. The company rolled out Beacon in beta in August, which contains data from 60% of companies operating in LEO, and is working towards a full-scale product launch.
Beacon promises to make collision avoidance simpler for companies and organizations that are inundated daily with data messages, Stricklan said. “Beacon provides a more accurate and efficient way to sift through the noise and only focus on things that really need a maneuver. This helps us reduce the number of maneuvers that our customers do, and it helps them optimize their space systems on orbit.”
Hiring and scaling: Slingshot announced plans to boost headcount by 40 over the coming year. The hiring push will be concentrated on building out the leadership, data science, and astro teams, as the company focuses on both expanding globally and building out the “technical heart” of the product, Stricklan said.