Good morning. Good luck to JAXA, which is expecting to launch its SLIM lunar lander this evening Eastern time.
♻️ Manastu Space pre-Series A
🌊 China launches from the sea
📃 Space opportunities
💸 The term sheet
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Manastu Space Closes $3M Pre-Series A
Image: Manastu Space
India’s space industry got an energizing shock from its lunar landing two weeks ago, and so far, the flurry of investment activity isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Manastu Space, an Indian collision avoidance and green propulsion startup, announced Tuesday that it closed a $3M pre-Series A led by Capital 2B, BIG Capital, and E2MC with participation from several other investors.
Manastu 101: The Mumbai-based company was founded in 2017 by a student team from Student Satellite Lab at IIT Bombay to develop a greener propulsion system for satellites.
The company is working on developing and testing its thruster, which runs on a fuel called MS-289, which is a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and a blend of additives that it says will burn more cleanly than commonly used fuels.
It’s also designing a collision avoidance system, which includes a thruster that can be incorporated into a satellite to provide maneuverability and deorbiting capabilities.
The company says it is using its pre-Series A funding to continue testing its propulsion system, including the first on-orbit tests and demonstrations. Looking ahead, the company has secured contracts with the Indian defense agency, French launch startup Latitude, and defense innovation group iDEX.
India’s space boom: India’s domestic space industry has been growing steadily for years, but there’s been a notable uptick in investment activity recently. India’s space stocks surged after the Chandrayaan-3 lander touched down on the lunar surface last month, and EO intelligence startup SatSure announced a $15M Series A last week in the wake of that landing.
There are 150+ space startups in the Indian market right now that have collectively raised upwards of $218M since 2014. The market is currently valued at ~$8B—roughly the same as the Japanese space industry—according to a report from consultancy Arthur D. Little that projects it will grow to $40B by 2040.
Lifting Humankind to New Heights
NASA's Space Launch System is the world’s most powerful heavy-lift rocket.
The SLS, including the Boeing-built core stage, is designed to send humanity back to the Moon, on to Mars, and into the unexplored.
Learn more about how NASA’s Space Launch System is paving the way for humanity to go farther than it has ever gone before.
China’s Galactic Energy Launches from the Sea
Image: Galactic Energy
Chinese rocket startup Galactic Energy launched its Ceres-1 solid rocket from a mobile sea platform yesterday, becoming China’s first commercial rocket to achieve the feat.
The launch, which transported four IOT birds to LEO, took place off the coast of Haiyang in the Yellow Sea.
Sea launcher: With this launch, China has now completed five orbital solid rocket launches from barges at sea, including state-owned Long March 11 and Smart Dragon 3 missions. Tailored for solid rockets, the converted barges sidestep the challenges associated with cryogenic fueling.
Little Mermaid: The mission, which was nicknamed The Little Mermaid, was the ninth time Galactic Energy has launched Ceres-1, but the other launches took place from land. Ceres-1 is a 19-m tall, 1.4-m wide, four-stage rocket. The vehicle can deliver 400 kg to LEO, using solid propellant in its first three stages and liquid fuel in its fourth stage.
Galactic Energy is a part of China’s growing private rocket market, which includes Landspace, i-Space, OneSpace, Space Pioneer, and LinkSpace.
Sea launches offer numerous benefits compared to land launches, Tom Marotta, CEO of US-based maritime launch The Spaceport Company previously told Payload. The pros include:
Fewer environmental impacts
No community disruptions and road closures
The ability to sail to locations better suited for different orbits
“Being out at sea, we have fewer environmental impacts and can get approved for higher launch rates,” said Marotta.
The upshot: Launching at sea could give China greater flexibility and alleviate launch bottlenecks at a time when China’s space sector is growing at a rapid pace.
See You in DC!
Join us at our second Space Capitol event, where we will bring together emerging space companies and the government for a thought leadership and networking experience.
Here are the top government opportunities for space companies this week, as compiled by our partner TZero.
🛰️ SSC has released a draft RFP soliciting feedback for the Space Domain Awareness and Combat Power/Battle Management Command Control and Communications (HEMISPHERE) solicitation.
💥AFRL has released an ARA and is soliciting white papers for nuclear-related research including modeling and simulation of re-entry environments, materials characterization, nuclear explosion monitoring, and design, fab, and experimentation of nuclear delivery. Responses are due Oct. 1.
⚡DARPA is soliciting input for the ASSERT program, seeking single-events effects radiation testing of 3D heterogeneously integrated electronic components and circuits. Responses are due Sept. 15.
Additional opportunities and details can be found in the TZero Space Tracker, which is now offering new lower pricing and a one-month free trial.
In Other News
JAXA is set to receive ¥10B (~$67.7M) to allocate to universities and companies building space tech.
Stoke Space wrapped up wet dress rehearsals on its upper stage and is preparing to start static fires.
Starship is fully stacked on the pad awaiting an FAA license to launch.
Elon Musk borrowed $1B from SpaceX during his acquisition of X (formerly Twitter), the Wall Street Journal reports.
Australia is launching a competition to name the lunar rover it’s manifesting on an Artemis mission (and we know how that goes…).
The Term Sheet
MDA will buy SatixFy Space Systems for $40M. MDA will also contribute an additional $20M in advanced payments to utilize SatixFy’s flagship chipsets (via Payload).
GITAI, a space robotics startup, raised an additional $15M of funding, bringing its total Series B extension round to $45M (via Payload).
SatSure secured a $15M Series A to develop a fleet of four high-res and multispectral satellites (via Payload).
Intuitive Machines ($LUNR) nabbed a $20M equity investment.
ReOrbit closed a $7.4M seed funding round led by Inventure VC.
Antaris closed a $3.5M preferred seed funding round led by Streamlined Ventures, bringing total fundraising to nearly $10M.
The View from Space
This graphic shows one of the last eight images taken of ESA’s Aeolus spacecraft as it tumbled through Earth’s atmosphere at the end of its nearly five-year mission.