Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

Biz Briefs: Georgia Supreme Court Shoots Down Spaceport, Exotrail Raises $58M, 0-G’s Japan Deal, Roscosmos Seeks Closer Ties with UAE

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
February 8, 2023
Filed under , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Biz Briefs: Georgia Supreme Court Shoots Down Spaceport, Exotrail Raises $58M, 0-G’s Japan Deal, Roscosmos Seeks Closer Ties with UAE
Launch complex at Spaceport Camden. (Credit: Spaceport Camden)

Georgia Spaceport Setback

Camden County’s plan to build a spaceport has suffered a potentially fatal blow as the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that citizen initiated referendum rejecting the plan was constitutional. The Associated Press reports:

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously rejected a legal challenge by Camden County commissioners who sought to have the referendum last March declared invalid. The officials argued Georgia’s state constitution doesn’t allow citizens to veto decisions of county governments.

The court strongly disagreed, ruling that the state constitution’s language “plainly grants repeal and amendment powers to the electorate” over county ordinances and resolutions. The opinion by Justice Carla Wong McMillian said the county’s reading of the same provisions “would violate well established tenets of constitutional interpretation.”

Camden County has spent about $11 million to develop the spaceport to support small launch vehicles near Georgia’s southern border with Florida. Opponents called it a waste of money and raised questions about the safety because the rockets would fly over the Cumberland National Seashore.

Exotrail Raises $58 Million

Exotrail has raised $58 million in a Series B round to scale-up and pursue space mobility worldwide. The French company will use the funding to:

  • scale-up existing spaceware space-proven electric propulsion systems and spacestudio mission design software;
  • introduce its spacetower operations software and space logistics service spacedrop, and
  • expand Exotrail’s international presence, with a strong focus on the US and Asian markets.

Bpifrance led the Series B round via the SPI (Sociétés de Projets Industriels) fund. The Innovation Defense Fund, Eurazeo and CELAD also led the round. Exotrail’s existing investors – 360Capital, Karista through the Paris Region Venture Fund, Irdi Capital Investissement, Innovacom, iXO Private Equity and NCI-Waterstart, together with BNP Paribas and Banque Populaire Val de France from BPCE Group – participated in the round.

0-G Launch and PD AeroSpace Ink Agreement

0-G Launch of Washington, DC, and PD AeroSpace of Japan have signed a cooperation agreement to conduct zero-gravity parabolic flights from the Simojishima Islands starting in 2024.

0-G Launch will fly its Space Jet™ to Japan on a yearly basis to offer high-precision microgravity parabolic flights from the Shimojishima airport facility, where PD Aerospace’s research and development team is located. PD Aerospace will manage and organize the media outreach and logistics to ensure that these unique flights are accessible to the Japanese and Asian space industry for research, astronaut training and consumer zero-gravity flights.

Roscosmos DG Visits UAE

Roscosmos Director General Yuri Borisov has wrapped up a three-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as NASA prepares to send an UAE astronaut on a long-term stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Atalayar reports:

He came to the Gulf country with a large representation of senior Kremlin space officials in order to rebalance as far as possible the considerable influence that Washington exerts over Emirati organisations and the growing Emirati industrial fabric. 

The visit is an attempt by Moscow to strengthen its space cooperation with the UAE, whose authorities have in recent years been keen to strengthen their collaboration with Washington’s space agency – NASA – and with US space institutions, universities and companies.  

The objective sought by Yuri Borisov, in his own words, is to “broaden and deepen the avenues of collaboration already existing between the two nations”. To achieve this, he went to the Arab nation with the intention of “personally and directly presenting a series of proposals aimed at formalising new areas of cooperation”. 

Unmentioned in the article is that UAE has a lot of money while Roscosmos has struggled with budget cuts and stagnation made worse by Western sanctions over its 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and its invasion of the country last February.

An UAE astronaut, Sultan Al Neyadi, is a member of the Crew-6 mission set to launch aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on Feb. 26. He will set a new endurance record for an UAE astronaut during the planned six-month mission.

Al Neyadi was the backup to Hazza Al Mansouri, who flew to ISS aboard Russia’s Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft in September 2019. The mission lasted just under eight days.