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London Tech Week

Founded by brothers, US-based K2 Space raises $7M to build next-gen satellite buses

K2 Space founders
Picture credits: K2 Space

Los Angeles-based K2 Space, which builds large satellite buses has netted an additional $7 million in funding. With this, the total investment raised by the company accounts for $16 million. 

The investment came from Alpine Space Ventures, a European fund led by early SpaceX engineers, such as Catriona Chambers. K2 Space intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and its development efforts.

Builds next-gen satellite bus

K2 Space was founded by brothers Karan Kunjur and Neel Kunjur, a former SpaceX engineer. It intends to deliver large satellites faster than the old-guard space companies and at less than a fourth of the average cost. While manufacturers have pushed to optimise spacecraft by designing as light and compact as possible, with small satellites in the range of tens to hundreds of kilograms, K2 is going the other way.

K2 Space is developing two satellite buses. The Mega class can hold a one-ton payload at $15 million, and the Giga class can hold several tons at $30 million and still fit into SpaceX’s Starship. They are bullish to achieve those price points by developing new systems such as power, attitude control, thermal control, and more.

K2 Space is looking to test the Mega satellites next year before beginning commercial flights by 2025. Also, the brothers have a dream mission of launching four or five Mega-class satellites to establish a geostationary communications network around Mars.

Contracts from the US Department of Defense

K2 Space has also secured three contracts from the US Department of Defense. The total potential contract value is $4.5 million. These contracts were got on behalf of different end users, reflecting some interesting traction from defense for K2’s larger platform. 

“Our goal is to follow similar engineering principles that we followed at SpaceX but apply them at a different scale that really hasn’t been explored before in the industry,” Neel Kunjur said. “Our spacecraft are very, very different than any of the large or small satellites that exist today. We have to go relook at the components and do a lot of in-house development to design new technologies to trade mass and cost in a new way.”

“We envision a future where we’re the platform that allows them to relax those constraints and be able to build the payloads that they’ve always wanted to that sit on top of this platform,” Karan Kunjur said.

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