Apollo Fusion Raises $10 million to Ramp Production of Satellite Thrusters

ACE thruster firing (Credit: Apollo Fusion)

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Apollo Fusion PR) — Satellite propulsion company Apollo Fusion recently closed their Series B round of $10 million from Reid Hoffman from Greylock Partners. Reid Hoffman, also the co-Founder of LinkedIn, has joined Apollo Fusion’s Board of Directors.

Apollo’s mission is to help “enable the second space race” with a new satellite propulsion system that delivers 3 times more total impulse per kg (or per volume) than existing propulsion systems on the market.

This Series B investment brings the total amount raised to over $18 million for Apollo Fusion, which will use the funds to ramp up manufacturing to deliver to commercial and government customers in the US and Europe.

“We’re seeing tremendous interest from big prime contractors and from fast-moving startups,” says Mike Cassidy, CEO of Apollo Fusion. “The biggest customers have demanding requirements at the scale we’re discussing, so with this investment we’re expanding our testing and manufacturing capability to meet their needs.”

The expansion includes a doubling of Apollo’s lab space, increasing the manufacturing capacity to deliver hundreds of systems per year, and commissioning several new large thermal vacuum chambers to accelerate acceptance testing of hundreds of Apollo Constellation Engine (ACE) propulsion systems.

Reid Hoffman noted, “The new space race has the potential to create entirely new and extremely large global markets. I am excited about Apollo’s rapid progress in this industry and about the outstanding track record of the Apollo management team.”

Cassidy’s previous role was in Google’s moonshot factory, Google X, where he was Vice President and project leader for the high-flying telecommunications project Loon. He founded Apollo Fusion with Ben Longmier who was a professor of Aerospace Engineering at University of Michigan and who was the co-founder of an aerospace company which was acquired by Apple.

Longmier, who holds advanced degrees in Physics, Nuclear Engineering, and Plasma Physics, said, “Our team brought over 100 years of electric propulsion experience to this new, clean-sheet design. The result is seven major proprietary innovations that deliver performance up to 3x better than competitors.”

About the Apollo Constellation Engine

ACE is a smaller, lighter, more efficient electric propulsion system. Unique features make ACE up to 3x smaller and lighter per impulse than any other flight system. With major innovations in the cathode, flow system, magnetic lensing, magnetic circuit, thermal radiation, and propellant, ACE offers revolutionary performance, verified by The Aerospace Corporation – a widely respected independent testing lab.

About Apollo Fusion

Apollo Fusion was founded by Mike Cassidy (serial entrepreneur of four successful startups and former Vice President at Google as leader of Project Loon) and Ben Longmier (former professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan and founder of an aerospace company which was acquired by Apple). The Apollo Fusion team also includes domain experts in nuclear physics, plasma physics, and propellants, in addition to aerospace, electrical, mechanical, software, and nuclear engineering. The team has over 100 years worth of Hall thruster experience and is based in Silicon Valley.

  • windbourne

    I wish that these companies would get smart and develop tugs.
    For example, OTK is doing cygnus wrong. They should NOT integrate the sat bus with thailes’ PCM. Instead, far better to have the PCM have docking/berthing on BOTH sides and then have OTK develop a tug unit with a berthing/docking end that can push it around.
    That way, it becomes possible to hook it up to say a BA-330 and move around the orbits.

  • Paul451

    Is there a docking adaptor for mating cargo to a propulsion unit?

    Ie, not a hatch-integrated pressurisable docking/berthing adaptor like CBM/IDA, just the actual docking parts, particularly suitable for docking a free-flying payload to a propulsion module and then supporting them during thrust and manoeuvring.

  • “Unique features make ACE up to 3x smaller and lighter per impulse than any other flight system.”

    Ah, marketing people. They can make simple things so complicated. I assume the reason the wording on this is so… slippery… is that they’re actually talking about something more like impulse per thruster mass, rather than specific impulse?