Atomos Space obtains funding to expand its space tug business

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TAMPA, Fla – Denver-based start-up Atomos Space announced on Jan.12 that it had raised the $ 5 million it first requested in 2020 to expand its space tug business at the following an investment by start-up investor Cantos Ventures.

Cantos has joined an undisclosed aerospace investor in the funding round, which the startup says paves the way for the launch of its first two spacecraft in 2023.

Quark, a reusable Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) that Atomos Space claims will be able to tow dozens of customers to their orbital destinations over the tug’s five-year lifespan, has been initially planned to launch in 2021.

According to Atomos Space, the company has won and executed more than $ 2 million in contracts with NASA, the US Air Force, and the US Space Force to support its OTV plans.

Atomos Space intends to stand out from the crowd in a emerging OTV market using nuclear powered tugs for its space transportation services.

“Current propulsion technologies are evolutionary dead ends and cannot adapt to the future space economy,” Vanessa Clark, CEO and co-founder of Atomos Space, said in the funding announcement.

However, Atomos Space co-founder and COO William Kowalski said his first two spacecraft, and one he plans to launch in late 2024, will use solar-powered systems.

“Our nuclear vehicle (Neutron) will be later in the 2020s,” Kowalski said News by email.

“Most of our contract work with the government has focused on nuclear space applications, but most of our private funding is focused on mission 1 [in 2023] and dating technologies.

Using nuclear energy in space faces regulatory, technical and cost challenges.

The startup said in a early 2021 blog post that he had planned to raise $ 5 million in the spring of 2020 to develop his technology – before being derailed by the pandemic.

In the blog post, the company said it was funded until 2021 without additional capital.

San Francisco-based Cantos Ventures was founded in 2016 and claims to manage $ 55 million across multiple funds.

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