WASHINGTON — A Spanish company developing an environmentally friendly propulsion system for spacecraft has raised $3 million in seed funding.
Arkadia Space announced on October 25th that it has closed an oversubscribed seed round of funding. The round was led by Spanish venture capital firm Draper B1, part of the US-led Draper Venture Network. Expansion Ventures, a European venture fund focused on space and air mobility startups, also participated in the round.
In addition, several angel investors are backing Arcadia Space, including Spain’s former astronaut and science minister Pedro Duque and Loft Orbital founder Antoine de Chassy. Both will serve as advisors to the company.
“We are proud to be supported by top-class funds like DraperB1 and Expansion who are determined to invest in the growth of Spain’s space sector. We are also honored to have top-class advisors on board. Their experience and network will be essential to Arcadia’s success in the years to come,” Arcadia Space CEO and co-founder Francio Calcia said in a statement.
The funding will allow Arkadia Space to expand its facilities and workforce in Castellón, Spain, and accelerate the development of its ultra-high pressure bipropellant spacecraft thruster. The company has completed development of a small monopropellant thruster that produces 5 newtons of thrust, and plans to start selling it in 2024 with a demonstration flight late next year.
The company was founded in 2020 by four former members of the propulsion team at Spanish rocket startup PLD Space. It emphasizes the use of non-toxic “green” propellants, such as hydrogen peroxide and proprietary fuels, as alternatives to hydrazine. The propellant has been used in spacecraft for many years because of its performance, but it is difficult to handle and its use is increasingly restricted.
“Francio and his team were able to develop a market-ready product and secure important strategic partnerships in less than three years,” said Raquel Bernal, Managing Partner and Investment Director at Draper B1. said. “This shows, on the one hand, the excellent execution of the team and, on the other hand, the growing maturity of the Spanish space technology sector.”
In addition to the seed round of investment, Arkadia Space has received funding from the European Space Agency, including as part of the agency’s future launch readiness program.