Isar Aerospace, a small launch vehicle firm based in Germany, has raised an extra $75 million to increase its manufacturing and deployment capabilities. The company reported on July 28 that it had raised an additional $75 million in a Series B financing that was originally disclosed in December 2020. The additional fundraising raises the amount raised to more than $180 million, bringing the round’s total to over $165 million. The expansion of the Series B financing was headed by Porsche Automobil Holding SE, HV Capital, and banking company Lombard Odier. The round included existing investors Lakestar, Vsquared Ventures, Earlybird Venture Capital, UVC Partners, and Apeiron Investment Group.
Isar claimed it had enough funds in the initial Series B round to get the company through the maiden launch of the Spectrum small launch vehicle. According to executives, the increased cash will allow it to expand manufacturing and establish the infrastructure needed for future growth. In an interview, Stella Guillen, Isar’s chief commercial officer, said, “Now we want to enhance our launch capacities, manufacturing and production skills.” Some of the funds will be used to work on reusability, according to the company. The company, which presently employs over 180 people, plans to expand to over 200 by the year’s closure.
Isar’s rocket, Spectrum, is a 2-stage vehicle capable of launching up to 1,000kgs into the low Earth orbit. The vehicle is propelled by Aquila engines, which the company also manufactures. Guillen stated the company is getting ready to commence full-scale Aquila engine tests on a trial stand in Kiruna, Sweden, soon. Isar is also embarking on a launch facility in Norway, has inked an agreement with Andya Space in April for exclusive pad usage at the state-owned launch facility operator’s new site under development.
Spectrum is slated to debut in the second part of 2022, according to Andya. In 2023, the business plans three to four launches, with a long-term objective of roughly ten launches per year. While Andya is well-suited for deployments to the sun-synchronous orbits, Isar is evaluating other launch locations for operations to lower inclination orbits, such as French Guiana.
Isar has received launch agreements from German space agency DLR and Airbus Defence and Space, the prior through a European Space Agency-sponsored competition in which Isar knocked out HyImpulse Technologies and Rocket Factory Augsburg, two additional German small launch vehicle startups. According to Guillen, Isar has also secured other customers who have yet to be publicized. Isar has significantly benefited from the support of the ESA and DLR. On future operations, Guillen said, “we’re working hand-in-hand with them.” “They are assisting us in bringing in new customers.”