The privately owned startup Rocket Lab is preparing to launch a satellite into space this year, after closing a successful round of Series D financing with $75 million.
The Los-Angeles – New Zealand-based startup received funding from Data Collective, Promus Ventures and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures and K1W1.
“Closing this funding round comes on the heels of a big year that saw Rocket Lab finish construction on the world’s first private, orbital launch site and delivery of the first Electron rocket to the site ahead of our test launch,” said the CEO and founder of Rocket Lab Peter Beck.
“The funding will enable us to scale up production of Electron to meet the continued high demand we’re seeing from the growing small satellite industry.”
The $75 million will be used to expand the manufacturing facilities in both New Zealand and California for Rocket Lab’s small launch vehicle, Electron, which is expected to take test flights in the next few weeks and commercial flights in the second half of 2017.
Rocket Lab’s aim is to provide regular satellite launch opportunities, revolutionising the ability of satellite companies to reach orbit.
“Currently, small satellite companies wait years to get on orbit, often at the mercy and schedules of larger payloads – and at extortionate costs,” said Matt Ocko from Data Collective.
“With Rocket Lab, this huge backlog now has access to a high-frequency, quality launch service that will take customers where they want to go, when they want to fly. The commercial and humanitarian applications this will open up are endless, and it should unleash a torrent of financing for space innovation.”
The successful round of fundraising means a promising year for the rocket startup, and investors are excited to be involved in the field.
“It’s a privilege to work with the experienced team at Rocket Lab. Launch has been the prime barrier to market entry in small satellites, and we firmly believe Rocket Lab will successfully fill this void with its proprietary technology platform, vertically-integrated supply chain and private orbital launch range,” said Mike Collett from Promus Ventures, a key investor in Rocket Lab.