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Weekly Biz Roundup: ClearSpace Raises $29 Million, CesiumAstro Acquires UK Startup, Blue Origin Exec Moves to HawkEye 360, and More

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
January 20, 2023
Filed under , , , ,
Weekly Biz Roundup: ClearSpace Raises $29 Million, CesiumAstro Acquires UK Startup, Blue Origin Exec Moves to HawkEye 360, and More
ClearSpace-1 mission. (Credit: ClearSpace)

Welcome to this week’s business roundup. In today’s edition: ClearSpace, Stell and Magnestar complete raises; World View is set to become the world’s first space SPAC; CesiumAstro acquires an UK startup; Thales Alenia Space, Spaceflight Inc., Sidus Space announce new business deals; and multiple companies make executive appointments.

Raises & IPOs

ClearSpace Raises $29 Million

Switzerland’s ClearSpace, whose goal is to remove debris from orbit, has raised a €26.7 million (US $29 million) Series A round led by OTB Ventures and Swisscom Ventures. Luxembourg Future Fund, Lakestar, In-Q-Tel, Happiness Capital and 600 T Space Investments participated in the round. 

ClearSpace recently announced a satellite life-extension deal with Intelsat. The agreement built upon the technology the company is developing under the €110 million ($US $119.4 million) ClearSpace-1 space debris removal mission secured from the European Space Agency in 2020.

Other Raises

Stell raised a pre-seed round worth $3.1 million to develop a supplier workflow platform for the aerospace industry. Wischoff Ventures and Third Prime VC led the round.

Toronto-based startup Magnestar raised $1.1 million in a pre-seed round pre-seed to develop a platform to help satellite operators predict and avoid radio frequency interference. BoxOne Ventures, 1862 Capital, Entrepreneur First and the Business Development Bank of Canada participated in the round.

World View Space to Become First Quasi-Space SPAC

Stratospheric balloon tourism company World View has announced a $350 million deal to go public by merging with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Leo Holdings Corp. II. A SPAC is an investment vehicle that is already publicly traded whose sole purpose is to find a company to take public. World View will begin trading under its own name if shareholders approve the deal.

Fifteen actual space companies have gone public by merging with SPACs since Virgin Galactic did so in October 2019. In most cases, the results have been dismal for retail investors due to significant declines stock prices.

Mergers & Acquisitions

CesiumAstro Acquires UK Startup TXMission

CesiumAstro, which builds active phased array communications technology for space and airborne systems, has acquired UK-based TXMission Ltd., a developer of software-defined radios and modems for satellites, ground stations, high-altitude platform systems, and airborne platforms. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

TXMission has a portfolio of field-proven communications waveforms and hardware products that will complement CesiumAstro’s product lines, including their Quest and Connect software-defined radios built for the satellite and ground station markets.

Contracts & Partnerships

Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with Appworks to provide Thailand with a complete Search And Rescue operational system based on the COSPAS-SARSAT MEOSAR Service. The solution will make it possible to detect and locate distress signals from COSPAS-SARSAT beacons on land, in the air and at sea instantaneously, over a radius of 2,500 km (1,553 miles) centered around Bangkok, mainly using the Galileo satellite positioning system.

Sidus Space (NAS: SIDU) had selected Ontario-based SkyWatch as a partner to distribute commercial data from its satellite constellation through the TerraStream service.

Spaceflight Inc. has signed an agreement with Maritime Launch Services to launch up to five of its Sherpa Orbital Transfer Vehicles (OTVs) beginning in 2025. The launches aboard Cyclone-4M rockets will take place from Spaceport Nova Scotia in Canada. Sherpa OTVs can accommodate CubeSats, small satellites and large-factor customer vehicles.

Personnel Moves 

Kleos Space S.A. has appointed Sara Fanous as VP Finance and acting CFO. Fanous is a U.S. citizen who has worked more than 17 years in the auditing, data-as-a-service, aerospace, satellite, wireless voice, and Internet of Things (IoT) industries. She gained experience in public accounting (KPMG and Ernst & Young), technical accounting and SEC reporting (Iridium Communications), and building accounting/finance departments in early-stage space-based data and communication companies (Aireon and SpaceLink).

Mitz Banarjee will be joining Xplore as a strategic business advisor. Banarjee’s most recent executive role was at Workiva, which during his 12-year tenure went from startup to IPO and became a publicly traded company with a $4 billion market cap on the New York Stock Exchange. He served as chief customer officer and executive vice president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He held prior leadership positions at YODLE, AT&T, and AOL.

Blue Origin‘s former head of space mobility, Patrick Zeitouni, has joined HawkEye 360 as its new chief strategy officer.

“As Chief Strategy Officer, Mr. Zeitouni will guide the company through an evolving space and national security landscape, driving company growth and product strategy in a rapidly expanding RF data and analytics market. Leveraging his expertise in strategy, product conception, innovation, and development, as well as his extensive aerospace and defense background, he will accelerate HawkEye 360’s growth across commercial and government sectors,” the company said.

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake has decided to step down from the active ESA astronaut corps. Peake will now assume the role of ambassador for ESA’s activities, in close cooperation with the UK Space Agency. In this role, Tim will continue to focus on maximizing the potential for young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), in addition to supporting ESA’s Human and Robotic Exploration program and the future growth of the space industry.

13 responses to “Weekly Biz Roundup: ClearSpace Raises $29 Million, CesiumAstro Acquires UK Startup, Blue Origin Exec Moves to HawkEye 360, and More”

  1. P.K. Sink says:

    …Blue Origin‘s former head of space mobility, Patrick Zeitouni, has joined HawkEye 360 as its new chief strategy officer…

    Good luck to Patrick. But Blue hasn’t been famous for either its mobility or its strategy under his leadership. Maybe playing with a new deck of cards will improve his odds.

    • lopan says:

      “Head of space mobility”…”chief strategy officer”…suddenly I’m having a vision of some DC bigshot on a golf course strongly hinting that a company should “find a place” for his grandson / frat brother’s nephew.

    • duheagle says:

      I’d say just working for a new boss will probably be the key change. Patrick is, in effect, moving from OldSpace to NewSpace.

  2. publiusr says:

    Scary sat

  3. DP Huntsman says:

    Good summary.

    • duheagle says:

      Yes. I was particularly intrigued by the Spaceflight deal with Maritime Launch Services. That represents not only a vote of confidence by a going concern in a new spaceport, but also a vote of confidence in the future of Ukraine and the resurrection of its space industry. Here’s hoping Spaceflight proves prescient in both respects.

  4. Mat says:

    Might be easier to capture a satellite by enveloping it. Briefest of concepts. One motor might be able to control the whole mechanism. To reverse the half shells to position to the other side of the craft to collect space debris. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

  5. duheagle says:


    You’re right about the necessity of laser brooms and likely about on-orbit capture and recycling as well. But both of these things will make megaconstellations more practical and sustainable, not less. Winding down and banning of such is emphatically not in the cards.

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