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ATMOS Space Cargo secures additional €1.3M funding: One giant leap towards space cargo return prototype

ATMOS founder
Picture credits: ATMOS

Gone are the days when space was solely the playground for superpower nations. Indeed, we finally seem to be on our way to opening up space for new innovations. After NASA’s unprecedented leaps in technology during the sixties- culminating in the moon landings, cost, political pressures, and faltering public interest, led to decades of stagnation. Compared to the rapid development and excitement of the early years, even considering probes to other planets, the shuttle program, and the ISS, the space industry was comparatively sidelined.

Today however, there seems to be more spacetech companies than stars in the sky, thanks in no small part, to SpaceX for rekindling interest from both the public and [more importantly] investors who are willing to back these young businesses promising to make space profitable.

The unique conditions space offers have led to numerous advancements in industries such as biotech and manufacturing. Getting in early on these research and development projects, as well as logistical support technologies [getting it up there and back safely], is proving attractive to many investors who realise the potential gains to be had from this blossoming sector.

In a significant development, ATMOS Space Cargo, a leading NewSpace startup from Germany, has raised an additional €1.3 million in funding. This comes as an extension of its initial seed financing round, which was oversubscribed at €4 million back in June 2023. The latest funding round was co-led by OTB Ventures, a notable European SpaceTech investor, and included participation from existing investors such as High-Tech Gründerfonds, the Amadeus APEX Technology Fund, Seraphim, E2MC, VENTIS, and

Accelerating ATMOS’ vision

One of the key objectives for ATMOS is to assemble the first prototype of its Phoenix return capsule, marking a pivotal step in the demonstration of its advanced space cargo return technology. The additional €1.3 million funding injection is expected to expedite the development of the Phoenix capsule. This capsule is central to ATMOS’ commitment to providing a sustainable In-Orbit Demonstration (IOD) service, offering a unique solution for payloads and experiments in space.

ESA’s commercial cargo initiative tender

Germany-based ATMOS is actively participating in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Commercial Cargo Initiative tender. This initiative aims to support demonstration missions that can efficiently deliver cargo back from low Earth orbit (LEO) before the end of 2028. The additional funding not only fortifies ATMOS’ current involvement in this tender but also enhances its financial capabilities to meet the requirements of the Phoenix space capsule’s demonstration mission.

OTB Ventures joins the consortium

The new investment round sees the entry of OTB Ventures into the consortium of investors supporting ATMOS. OTB Ventures, recognised as a leading venture capital firm focused on DeepTech in Europe, has decided to back ATMOS in its early stages. This strategic investment by OTB Ventures reflects trust in ATMOS’ vision and technology.

Sebastian Klaus, CEO and Co-Founder of ATMOS Space Cargo welcomed OTB’s alliance, stating, “OTB is a very experienced space and Deeptech investor with successful portfolio companies like ICEYE or ClearSpace. I met Wojtek first at an ESA Investor Forum, and while OTB usually invests at Series A, this early investment into ATMOS is a great sign of trust. This seed extension will accelerate our time to market for our life sciences service with Phoenix and larger projects like LEO Cargo Return.”

Wojciech Walniczek, Partner at OTB Ventures added, “As part of our in-space economy strategy we have been thoroughly analysing future enabling platforms which decisively shape and grow this emerging sector. ATMOS Space Cargo struck us as one of the most compelling and innovative new companies, in a market ripe for dynamic growth. This technology, through a unique combination of cost, frequency, and flexibility, intends to “close the loop” for commercially viable access to space-based R&D and manufacturing, with the ability to spur a new wave of innovation in pharma, semiconductors, material sciences, and other areas. The founders of ATMOS are a group of visionaries and effective executors teamed up around inspiring shared mission. We are extremely happy to join forces with this exceptional consortium of investors to support this Team at a crucial development stage.”

Competitive landscape and future prospects

While specific competitors to ATMOS are not explicitly mentioned in available sources, the NewSpace sector is dynamic, with the European Space Agency (ESA) launching a competition for cargo delivery services to and from space stations in low-Earth orbit by 2028. ATMOS’ successful funding rounds and ongoing projects position the company as a key player in the evolving landscape of space cargo return services.

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