The Spaceport Company, a startup aiming to supply mobile, floating launch pads for responsive launch, won a $1.5M contract from the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) through its National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) program, the company announced Monday.
Under the contract, The Spaceport Company will develop a resilient sea platform that can be deployed in rough ocean conditions to support the DoD’s responsive launch goals.
The story so far: CEO Tom Marotta founded The Spaceport Company last year with ambitions to solve what he calls a spaceport bottleneck. The company is building a global network of launch sites that can, ideally, be deployed anywhere, serving the smallsat launch market and governments.
“As congestion grows at existing sites and regulatory constraints impede inland launch, operating spaceports at sea becomes a more attractive option to meet the demand for orbital launch, and solving the spaceport bottleneck,” Marotta wrote in a recent op-ed in The Space Review.
The Spaceport Company conducted its first demonstration two weeks ago, launching a handful of small, suborbital rockets from a floating launch pad in the Gulf of Mexico. This demo was also supported in part by NSIC investment and oversight. With this new funding, The Spaceport Company will continue to refine its design and expand development.
Gotta go fast: The DoD is on the hunt for ways to deploy spacecraft at the drop of a hat, whenever they’re needed for national defense. Mobile launch pads give the Pentagon access to space even if a launch pad is damaged in conflict, and allow operators to quickly replace a satellite taken offline by an adversary. Commercial partnerships with launchers, satellite manufacturers, and infrastructure companies are key to achieving a tactically responsive launch capability.
- USSF has requested $60M from Congress to support its tactically responsive launch programs in the upcoming fiscal year.