Tom Mueller’s ImpulseSpace Raises $20 Million Seed Round From Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., March 29, 2022 (ImpulseSpace Propulsion PR) — ImpulseSpace Propulsion – leading the development of in-space transportation services for the inner solar system – today announced it has secured $20 million in a seed round led by Founders Fund, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm founded by Peter Thiel whose investments have backed some of the tech sector’s most successful and high-profile startups. Capital will be used by Impulse to further its mission to provide agile, economical capabilities to access any orbit.

“This is an exciting time for both Impulse and the space industry,” says Impulse Founder and CEO Tom Mueller. “With smaller satellites and launch costs decreasing, space is more accessible than ever. There exists, however, the challenge to efficiently move payloads into higher-energy orbits. At Impulse, we don’t see this as a problem needing a solution but rather a question needing an answer. And we’ve got it.”  

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Rocket Lab Inks Deal with Varda Space Industries to Supply Multiple Photon Spacecraft for Space Manufacturing Missions

Photon CAPSTONE spacecraft (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The Rocket Lab-built and jointly operated Photon spacecraft will enable high-value products to be manufactured in space and returned to Earth

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 11, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Leading launch and space systems company Rocket Lab today announced it has signed a deal with in-space manufacturing company Varda Space Industries to produce three Photon spacecraft that will integrate with their space factories, enabling high-value products to be manufactured in zero-gravity and returned to Earth in Varda’s re-entry capsule.

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Rocket Lab Inks Deal with Varda Space Industries to Supply Multiple Photon Spacecraft for Space Manufacturing Missions

Photon CAPSTONE spacecraft (Credit: Rocket Lab)

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 11, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Leading launch and space systems company Rocket Lab today announced it has signed a deal with in-space manufacturing company Varda Space Industries to produce three Photon spacecraft that will integrate with their space factories, enabling high-value products to be manufactured in zero-gravity and returned to Earth in Varda’s re-entry capsule.

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Varda Space Raises $9 Million Seed Round for Space Manufacturing

Varda Space Industries has raised $9 million in a seed round to advance its goal of manufacturing products in space.

Varda said that Founders Fund and Lux Capital were the co-leads on the round. Other participants in the round included Also Capital, Fifty Years, Raymond Tonsing, Justin Mateen, and Naval.

Founders Fund partner Trae Stephens and Lux Capital managing partner Josh Wolfe joined the Varda Space board of directions as part of the raise.

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Start-up Space Blasts Off

Bryce Space and Technology has produced a new report, Start-up Space: Update on Investment in Commercial Space Ventures.

Below is the executive summary. You can also download the full report.

Executive Summary

The Start-Up Space series examines space investment in the 21st century and analyzes investment trends, focusing on investors in new companies that have acquired private financing. Space is continuing to attract increased attention in Silicon Valley and in investment communities world-wide. Space ventures now appeal to investors because new, lower-cost systems are envisioned to follow the path terrestrial tech has profitably traveled: dropping system costs and massively increasing user bases for new products, especially new data products. Large valuations and exits are demonstrating the potential for high returns.
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SpaceX Raises $351 Million as Valuation Soars

The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing supported SpaceX’s successful launch of the EchoStar XXIII spacecraft aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center March 16 at 2 a.m. EDT. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

SpaceX has raised an additional $351 million in a Series H funding round, increasing its valuation to $21.2 billion and share price to $135, the website Equidate reports.

The increase in valuation makes SpaceX one of the most valuable privately held companies in the world, according to The New York Times.

The company was previously valued at $14.9 billion with a share price of $96.42 in March 2016, Equidate reports.

In related news, Axios reports that Founders Fund co-founder Luke Nosek is leaving the venture capital company to create a new investment firm called Gigafund that will be focused on raising capital for SpaceX.

A source says that Nosek has been spending an increasing amount of time on SpaceX business, and the idea behind Gigafund is to ensure that the space exploration company won’t have debilitating capital constraints. An SEC filing suggests that it’s seeking to raise an initial $100 million, with former Founders Fund venture partner Stephen Oskoui also involved.

SpaceX statement, per spokesman John Taylor: “While we wish Luke well in his new endeavors, there is no guarantee of future investment allocations in SpaceX or any other companies associated with Elon.”

Founders Fund has invested $200 million into SpaceX. Nosek is the fund’s representative on the company’s board.

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A Closer Look at Which Space Companies U.S. VC’s are Investing in

Falcon 9 launches the Dragon CRS-9 mission to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
Falcon 9 launches the Dragon CRS-9 mission to the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

NASA’s new publication, “Economic Development of Low Earth Orbit,” consists of a series of papers that examines a number of important policy questions that will be of rising importance as NASA transitions human spaceflight in LEO to the private sector.

One of the papers, “Venture Capital Activity in the Low-Earth Orbit Sector,”
has detailed information on what U.S. venture capitalists have invested in. Key excerpts from the paper follow.
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