Small Satellite Launch Startup ABL Space System Raises $49M, First Mission Set for 2021

Leslie Ignacio

Leslie Ignacio is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is a recent California State University, Northridge graduate and previously worked for El Nuevo Sol, Telemundo and NBC and was named a Chips Quinn Scholar in 2019. As a bilingual journalist, she focuses on covering diversity in news. She's a Los Angeles native who enjoys trips to Disneyland in her free time.

Small Satellite Launch Startup ABL Space System Raises $49M, First Mission Set for 2021
ABL Space Systems

ABL Space Systems, a startup building low-cost launch vehicles for small satellites, announced that it raised over $90 million and plans to launch its first orbital mission by the first quarter of next year.

The El Segundo-based company secured $44.5 million in Air Force contracts and another $49 million in private funds led by Ethan Batraski at Venrock with participation from New Science Ventures, Lynett Capital, and Lockheed Martin Ventures.


Their launch vehicle, the RS1 aims to carry up to 1,350 kg into low Earth orbit — around 200 kilometer above the Earth. Early testing has been successful with the vehicle's performance hitting all its targets, the company said.

"We've completed hundreds of engine, stage, and ground system tests across multiple deployments to unimproved sites. All were performed on generator power with fully self-sufficient systems," said Dan Piemont, ABL founder and CFO.

The company's GSO system, which it uses to launch the RS1, is marketed as an easy way to launch satellites on-demand. That system employs shipping containers and a concrete pad to set up a launch. The simple infrastructure cuts down on the need for the large teams employed by traditional satellite companies.

ABL is among a number of U.S. rocket builders like Long Beach-based Rocket Lab and Hawthorne-based SpaceX that are competing in the growing small satellite market.

As the company ramps up toward their launch, it has expanded its footprint leasing additional propulsion test facilities at Mojave Air and Space Port and moved its operations into a 60,000 square foot production facility in El Segundo.

The RS1 satellite launch vehicle team, now made up of 80 engineers, designers and production experts.

The price tag for a launch is $12 million.

ABL founder and Chief Financial Officer Dan Piemont said these "large capacity, fit-for-purpose resilient launch system" offer commercial and government customers "value."

The company shut down during the first month of the pandemic slowing down production and testing, but it resumed operations shortly after.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

This Week in ‘Raises’: Improvado Hauls $22M, Clearlake Launches $14B Fund

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Raises
Image by Joshua Letona

This week in “Raises”: A pair of Web3 platforms for gamers landed funding, as did a Manhattan Beach medical startup looking to bolster primary care via nurse practitioners. Meanwhile, a Santa Monica-based investment firm launched its seventh fund with more than $14 billion in dry powder.

Read more Show less

LA Tech ‘Moves’: New Head of Originals at Snap, New President at FaZe Clan

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: New Head of Originals at Snap, New President at FaZe Clan
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves”, our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending