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SpaceX rival: Reusable rocket startup Stoke clinches $100M in Series B funding


In a major milestone for the space industry, Stoke Space, the US-based rocket company focused on crafting the world’s most efficient and swiftly reusable rockets, has revealed a significant infusion of $100 million in Series B funding. Following weeks of successfully completing a low-altitude flight test of its prototype “Hopper2,” this funding injection marks a pivotal moment for the company, doubling its total funding to $175 million. Stoke also took the opportunity to unveil the official name of its inaugural rocket: Nova.

Industrious Ventures led this funding round, with notable participation from the University of Michigan, Sparta Group, Long Journey, and several others. The round also witnessed continued support from existing investors such as Breakthrough Energy, YCombinator, Point72 Ventures, NFX, MaC Ventures, Toyota Ventures, and In-Q-Tel. An additional development in the wake of this funding round also included the appointment of Steve Angel, Chairman of the Board at Linde plc and former Linde CEO, to Stoke’s Board of Directors. Angel will now hold a position on the Board of Directors of GE. This wave of funding highlights the surging rise of space tech, showcasing how the sector has been thriving with increased investments in 2023.

Developing reusable rocket engine

With this funding infusion, Stoke plans to channel the capital towards crucial areas of development. This includes advancing the development of the first stage rocket engine and structure, refining the orbital version of the reusable second stage, and facilitating new constructions at Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. Notably, Launch Complex 14 has historical significance as the launch site of NASA’s Mercury-Atlas 6 flight, piloted by NASA Astronaut John Glenn in 1962, a pivotal moment in space exploration.

Moreover, the company aims to leverage the funds to finance the development of key components for its future launches. “Our vehicle designs build on the ideas and achievements of prior generations. The name Nova is a way to honour that past heritage while looking ahead to a very exciting future,” explained Andy Lapsa, CEO and Co-Founder, Stoke Space.

These significant announcements were made during a session at the UP.Summit in Dallas, an exclusive gathering featuring 250 of the world’s innovators reimagining the future of transportation. Notably, the investors in attendance collectively represent a staggering $1 trillion in investable capital, underscoring the immense interest and support for Stoke’s vision.

VTVL in development 

This influx of funding closely follows Stoke’s triumphant vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) developmental test flight of its reusable second stage, which took place on September 17 at Stoke’s testing facility in Moses Lake, Washington. The test successfully demonstrated Stoke’s groundbreaking hydrogen/oxygen engine, regeneratively cooled heat shield, differential throttle thrust vector control system, avionics, software, and ground systems.

Founded in 2019 by Tom Feldman and Andy Lapsa, Stoke is steadfast in its mission to revolutionise the space economy by providing cost-effective, on-demand transport to, through, and from space. 

The U.S. is home to a number of companies focused on developing reusable rockets to compete with SpaceX’s success, but Stoke says to be taking a different approach. According to Lapsa, the company developed and tested the second stage of the rocket before launching the first stage. Further, the company is working on developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets and space vehicles, operating at aircraft-like frequency. Also, Stoke’s advancements are supported by funding from key entities including the U.S. Space Force, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and various government and private partners.

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