Aeronautical startup PLD Space has completed their Series A fundraising securing an additional €9 million. The Spanish startup will use the injection of capital to produce two of their reusable Arion 1 launch vehicles.
PLD Space opened their Series A round of fundraising in January 2017 securing €7.8 million. With the additional €9 million, the company has raised a total of €17 million in funding. Much of the funding in the second Series A tranche was contributed by the venture capital fund, JME. This is an important step in the continent’s aspirations in the industry as it is the first time a venture capital fund has backed a European space company.
“It is the first time in the history of Europe that a venture capital fund like JME has decided to invest in space launchers, something that until now had only happened in the United States. It is undoubtedly a milestone in the history of the European Venture Capital,” said Joaquín Durán, a financial advisor for PLD Space.
The first €7.8 million in funding raised allow PLD Space to grow from just 6 employees to over 40. It also allowed the company to develop much of the technology needed to begin production of the Arion 1 rocket. The additional €9 million can now be used to begin making the diminutive rocket a reality.
The Arion 1 rocket is a suborbital launch vehicle capable of subjecting payloads of 100 kgs to up to four minutes of microgravity. Unlike the similarly suborbital Blue Origin New Shepard rocket, the Arion 1 will utilise two parachutes to recover the rocket and its payload. PLD Space is also working on an upgraded rocket, the Arion 2. However, it is still uncertain what capabilities the upgraded iteration will feature.