Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

Roundup of Recent Launch Contracts, Fundraising Rounds and Other Agreements

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
December 5, 2022
Artist’s view of Ariane 6 and Vega-C. (Credit: ESA – D. Ducros)

An update on recent funding rounds, launch agreements and other contracts.


Arianespace signed a contract to launch Intelsat’s IS-41 and IS-44 communications satellites on the Ariane 6 rocket in 2025. The agreement repurposes a previous launch contract and adds one additional satellite.

Rocket Lab received a NASA contract to launch four Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation Structure and Storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) spacecraft on a pair of Electron rockets. Astra Space previously held the contract for the missions, but lost it after destroying the first two TROPICS satellites in a launch accident.

Phantom Space received a NASA contract to launch four CubeSats on a Daytona rocket in 2024 under the space agency’s Venture-class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) launch services program.

SpaceRyde of Canada announced an agreement to provide four launches for ISILAUNCH of The Netherlands.

BlueWalker 3’s solar arrays deployed in the clean room. (Credit: AST SpaceMobile)


Defense startup Anduril raised a $1.48 billion Series E round based on an valuation of $8.5 billion. The company builds hardware and software enhanced with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Valor Equity Partners led the round, with other funders including Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, 8VC , Lux Capital, Thrive Capital, DFJ Growth, Elad Gil, Lachy Groom, Human Capital, Marlinspike, WCM Investment Management, MVP Ventures, Lightspeed Venture and US Innovative Technology Fund.

AST SpaceMobile closed an offering of 13,636,364 Class A common shares with a gross of $75 million. B. Riley Securities has a 30-day option to purchase an additional 2,045,454 shares that would raise an additional $11.25 million.

Munich-based OroraTech raised €15 million (US $15.76 million) in a Series A round. Edaphon, a Belgium-based climate impact fund, led the round alongside existing investors Findus Venture, Ananda Impact Ventures, Wachstumsfonds Bayern 2, ConActivity, APEX Ventures, SpaceTec Capital, and industry experts Ingo Baumann and Clemens Kaiser. Non-dilutive co-funding was received from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Free State of Bavaria. 

Satellite data analytics company SynMax raised a $5 million seed round led by SkyFi co-founder Bill Perkins. The company focuses on dark ship monitoring.

A new award from NASA will support ICON in developing construction technology that could be used on the Moon and Mars. (Credits: ICON/BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group)


SiriusXM has tapped Maxar Technologies to build and deliver two new geostationary communications satellites named SXM-11 and SXM-12 for the company’s satellite radio service.

Eutelsat selected Thales Alenia Space to build a next-generation highly flexible, software-defined satellite. The Flexsat (for flexible satellite) will be based on Thales Alenia Space’s cutting-edge ‘Space Inspire’ (INstant SPace In-orbit REconfiguration) product line.

NASA awarded a $57.2 million contract to ICON of Austin, Texas, to develop advanced technologies for use in building a lunar base using local materials.

In-space transportation company D-Orbit signed a multi-mission deal with satellite manufacturer Apogeo Space, which is building the first Italian constellation of picosats. Apogeo Space is planning two to three launches of nine satellites measuring 10 x 10 x 3 cm between 2023 and 2027 for its PiCo-IoT constellation.

D-Orbit signed a contract for deployment of NPC Spacemind’s FUTURA-SM1 3U and FUTURA-SM3 6U Cubesats. The spacecraft will be integrated into NPC’s CubeSat dispensers and installed inside an ION Satellite Carrier.

D-Orbit has signed an agreement to integrate a SpacePNT global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver prototype as a hosted payload aboard an ION Satellite Carrier. GNSS describes a satellite constellation that provides positioning, navigation and timing services.

Details on all recent D-Orbit contracts here.

ClearSpace will collaborate with Intelsat to promote a more sustainable space economy through the development and use of satellite life extension services. 

This illustration shows a concept for multiple robots that would team up to ferry to Earth samples collected from the Mars surface by NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA awarded a $17.6 million contract to Honeybee Robotics LLC of Longmont, Colorado, for the Mars Sample Return (MSR) – Capture, Containment, and Retrieval System (CCRS), Earth Entry System (EES), and Spin Eject Mechanism (SEM).

NASA selected 12 companies to develop new technologies with funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Ignite program. SBIR Ignite funds technologies with strong commercial potential.


Possible buyers of Aerojet Rocketdyne include General Electric, L3Harris, Textron and Veritas Capital. Federal regulators blocked Lockheed Martin’s attempt to acquire the company on anti-trust grounds.


The European Space Agency has boosted spending for its ScaleUp commercialization and entrepreneurship program to $117.6 million euros in its new three-year budget. ESA aims to develop a commercialization hub where new ideas could be pursued.

The European Union (EU) has reached a provisional agreement on the union’s secure connectivity program for the 2023-2027 period. The EU aims to deploy a secure satellite constellation called ‘IRIS2‘ (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite) by 2027.

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