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STOKE Space Raises $65M Series A to Make Space Access Sustainable and Scalable 

December 15, 2021

Reusable rocket developer STOKE Space today announced the close of a $65 million funding round that the company will use to develop its fully and rapidly reusable rocket. The funding will enable the company to conduct flight tests with its reusable second stage. 

The Series A funding round was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and included new investors Spark Capital, Point72 Ventures, Toyota Ventures, Alameda Research, and Global Founders Capital. Existing investors NFX, MaC Ventures, Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, Joe Montana’s Liquid2, and others also participated. STOKE raised a $9.1 million Series Seed one year ago, and the new round is among the largest pure Series A investments ever for a space company.

STOKE is developing a fully and rapidly reusable space launch vehicle that will provide low-cost, on-demand access to and from any location in orbit. This is critical enabling infrastructure as we collectively address issues of population growth, climate change, and an intensifying in-space economy.

Much of our understanding about the earth ecosystem is already built on space-based observations. Our knowledge of atmospheric composition, ocean patterns, land use, and ice and glacier trends are all direct results of space-based imaging. Emergent technologies that track and forecast crop yields, seasonal water supplies, microplastics in oceans, and other topics are quickly developing. In addition to climate change, these applications contribute to immediate actions that combat global hunger, disease, and pollution.

Within this decade tens of thousands of satellites will be launched into thousands of discrete orbits, feeding what is expected to become a multi-trillion-dollar space ecosystem. These assets will enable direct solutions to climate change, access to new sources of raw materials, clean energy production, global access to information, products that transform healthcare, and novel manufacturing methods.

“There is no better way to see the earth and the severity of its climate challenges than looking at the entire globe from space,” said Carmichael Roberts, Breakthrough Energy Ventures. “Imagine being able to detect wildfires in any country within minutes, identifying oil & gas methane emissions in real-time for remediation, or verifying carbon stocks globally to enable large-scale carbon offset markets. These are just a few of the far-reaching opportunities that greater access-to-space can provide through advanced satellite technology. We see two main barriers for such innovation in space—high cost and lack of launch availability. However, STOKE’s unique vehicle design and operational capabilities provide a path to achieving ultra-low-cost, fast-turnaround launch for dedicated orbital delivery.”

STOKE’s reusable rocket is designed from the ground up to be 100% reusable and fly at an ultra-high rate. That gives satellite customers on-demand access to any orbit, from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) to Trans Lunar Injection (TLI) and beyond. Other proposed “on-demand” launch providers are building disposable rockets, which not only drive up costs and limit availability but also contaminate oceans and add to the increasing challenge around space junk.

“Everything we do is with long-term sustainability and scalability in mind,” said Andy Lapsa, co-founder and CEO of STOKE. “If we’re going to continue to scale our civilization, space is going to be one of the necessary and major pillars that supports that growth. When we surveyed our nascent industry, we didn’t see anybody working on the solutions that represent its inevitable end-state.”

STOKE operates out of a 21,000 square foot engineering and manufacturing headquarters outside of Seattle, WA, and has its own purpose-built rocket test facility in Moses Lake, WA. Their reusable second-stage design eliminates the brittle ceramic tiles that have required detailed inspections and lengthy refurbishments on other space vehicles, and it eliminates large aerodynamic surfaces that pose challenges during hypersonic re-entry maneuvers.

“We’ve already demonstrated many of the core elements of the technology using a small and elite team, and we’re excited to ramp up development with this new funding,” Lapsa concluded.