Starfish Space Raises $7M to Develop the Otter Space Tug


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Starfish Space, a satellite servicing company founded by former Blue Origin engineers, announced that it has raised a $7M funding round co-led by NFX and MaC Venture Capital, with participation from PSL Ventures, Boost VC, Liquid2 Ventures, and Hypothesis.

Up until now, missions to service existing satellites on-orbit, like the Hubble Space Telescope, have been too large and expensive to be commercially viable. But with the exciting and rapid evolution of the space industry increasing demand for on-orbit satellite servicing, missions such as debris removal and satellite life extension will become a necessity as we push toward on-orbit manufacturing and assembly.

Starfish Space is developing the Otter space tug, an efficient and versatile satellite servicing vehicle. The Otter is a small satellite capable of capturing and moving objects in orbit. It is targeted at two primary missions: extending the life of large geostationary spacecraft and disposing of space debris in low-earth orbit. These missions will allow satellites to maximize their time spent providing value to people on Earth. The Otter is also positioned to become autonomous robotics infrastructure for a future off-world economy that will someday include manufacturing, assembling, upgrading, recycling, mining, and more.

"I'm thrilled to be working with the Starfish Space team," says Morgan Beller, NFX General Partner. "They are the perfect example of what happens when you have a brilliant experienced team and a vision that goes well beyond the competition. I'm excited for what's next for Starfish."

Starfish Space has achieved significant traction so far on the company's CEPHALOPOD software to perform satellite Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Docking (RPOD). CEPHALOPOD was selected for funding during Space Force Pitch Day, and is currently undergoing testing on-orbit.

"As space becomes more and more commercialized, we see huge opportunities to solve Earth's problems in space," says Adrian Fenty, MaC Venture Capital Managing General Partner. "Additionally, as space becomes more crowded and more regulated, we see a massive need for companies like Starfish to provide satellite services and deorbiting. We believe the team at Starfish and their Otter space tug will be able to do this better than anyone else in the market thanks to their novel technology."

The funding raised this round will allow Starfish Space to expand the team and accelerate the development of technologies for Otter. The company has already opened up several positions in the Kent, WA area. With additional talent, the company will focus on increasing confidence in the operations around a client spacecraft, a critical step towards realizing the future off-world economy. 

"At Starfish Space we're trying to change the way humans interact with the universe around us," says Austin Link, Co-Founder of Starfish Space. "There's still a lot to do, but we're now in a position to build on our early successes. It's an incredible joy to pursue this dream surrounded by the extraordinary people we have at Starfish, and we look forward to accelerating this pursuit."

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