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Space Propulsion Innovator Accion Systems Raises $11M in Series B Funding


February 04, 2020

In-space propulsion system pioneer Accion Systems announced that it is raising $11 million in Series B funding. The round is being co-led by Boeing HorizonX Ventures and Shasta Ventures. The Series B round brings Accion’s total funding to date to $36 million, which includes $14 million in U.S. Department of Defense and NASA contracts. The new capital will be used to ramp up production of Accion’s next- generation product and to expand hiring.

Spun out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2014, Accion is redefining in-space propulsion. Accion’s TILE (Tiled Ionic Liquid Electrospray) propulsion system aims to increase the lifespan and maneuverability of satellites and other vehicles in space. Leveraging a non-toxic, ionic liquid propellant and postage stamp-size thrusters, the TILE system is smaller, lighter and more cost-effective than traditional ion engines.

“At the size of a postage stamp, our propulsion system is re-writing the rules of smallsat navigation and maneuverability,” according to Natalya Bailey, CEO of Accion Systems. “We’re excited to ramp up production and offer our clients benefits such as extending mission lifetime, station-keeping, and de-orbiting capabilities.”

Boeing HorizonX, an innovation and venture organization within Boeing, discovers, shapes and accelerates the next generation of game-changing ideas, products and markets through ventures investments, partnerships and trend discovery.

“Accion’s propulsion system brings new capabilities to satellites, space vehicles and ultimately, our customers,” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Our support of Accion supports Boeing’s leadership in adopting next-generation technologies to advance satellite capabilities.”

Shasta Ventures led Accion’s Series A funding round and Rob Coneybeer sits on Accion’s Board of Directors.

“Only sixty satellites were launched during the first nine years of space exploration, but now there are that many smallsats launched in a single mission,” said Rob Coneybeer, managing director at Shasta Ventures. “A new approach to in-space propulsion and smallsat mobility is in order, and I believe Accion has the solution.”

Accion Systems has a number of launches already scheduled for 2020, including collaborations with student organizations at the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program in Irvine, CA and BeaverCube, an educational mission led by MIT to introduce university students to aerospace science and technology through designing a 3U CubeSat.

Accion also was recently one of fourteen companies selected by NASA as part of its Tipping Point partnership for Moon and Mars technologies. Accion’s in-space propulsion system will be used on replicas of the MarCO CubeSats, NASA’s first CubeSats that traveled on an interplanetary mission. Accion will work with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to replace the cold gas propulsion system that was used on the MarCO CubeSats with a more efficient ion electrospray propulsion system. Accion received $3.9 million for the project, which was successfully kicked off in January 2020 and will launch in the summer of 2021.

 

 

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