Exolaunch, a German launch services company, is expanding to the United States to capture a larger portion of the fast-rising industry, putting it in direct rivalry with Seattle-centered rideshare broker Spaceflight. According to newly recruited Exolaunch USA Chief Executive Officer Chris Hearsey, around half of the approximately 100 satellites Exolaunch has officially booked for deployments next year are for US clients.
Exolaunch’s new headquarters in Denver are led by Hearsey, an ex-director in charge of the government affairs for the commercial space habitat venture Bigelow Aerospace’s Washington office. Exolaunch also launched a Washington office to supervise policy, industry outreach, as well as government affairs in order to expand its worldwide company after more than doubling sales last year.
The German company’s first international expansion emphasizes its ties to SpaceX as well as its Falcon 9 rideshare Transporter missions, which are widely regarded as one of the most cost-effective ways to orbit small satellite owners. Exolaunch has reserved satellites for SpaceX’s 3 to 4 Transporter missions in 2022.
Exolaunch has scheduled 95 satellite launches for 2022, which will require five rockets. The company has also committed to using Soyuz rockets and upcoming German small satellite rocket companies. Meanwhile, work on SpaceX’s next rideshare mission is slated to begin in the coming weeks.
“We can rely on a range of launch vehicles, but most importantly, we possess our launch ally SpaceX, which allows us to pivot in the industry to assist as many clients as we can,” Hearsey explained. While Hearsey stated that the company is now “primarily concentrated on the commercial market,” he also stated that the company’s presence in the United States could help it land its first federal customer. Exolaunch’s prospective investor base and funding alternatives are also expanded by having offices in the United States. Exolaunch’s vice president of the launch services, Jeanne Medvedeva, noted in the same interview that this firm is in the midst of its first external investment round to help it fulfill rising demand.
“We are not a traditional startup,” she explained, “relying on external finance and the investment rounds from day one.” The company is “trying to identify the best fit for the firm and the proper point of engagement with the investors.” During the first half of the year 2022, Medvedeva hopes to make a financial announcement. Exolaunch’s recently announced growth into nascent space tug sector, she claimed, might also benefit from the money.
Spaceflight has been expanding its space tug business, most recently announcing preparations for a lunar flyby project that will utilize an orbital transfer vehicle to deliver a small satellite into the geostationary orbit. While Spaceflight also reserves capacity on SpaceX’s Transporter flights for its rideshare clients, Exolaunch believes demand is developing quickly enough to accommodate multiple providers.