Quark, a reusable orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) that Atomos Space says will be able to tow dozens of customers to their orbital destinations over the tug’s five-year lifespan, was originally scheduled to launch in 2021. According to Atomos Space, the company has won and executed over $2 million in NASA, US Air Force and US Space Force contracts to support its OTV plans.
Atomos Space intends to stand out in an emerging OTV market by using nuclear-powered tugs for its space transportation services. “Most of our government contracts have focused on nuclear space applications, but most of our private funding is focused on Mission 1 and rendezvous technologies.”
“Our nuclear vehicle (Neutron) will be later in the 2020s,” Kowalski told SpaceNews via email. The use of nuclear energy in space faces regulatory, technical and financial challenges.
However, Atomos Space co-founder and chief operating officer William Kowalski said his first two spacecraft, and another he plans to launch in late 2024, will use solar-powered systems. “Current propulsion technologies are evolutionary dead ends and cannot scale in the future space economy,” Atomos Space CEO and co-founder Vanessa Clark said in the funding announcement.
In the blog post, the company said it was funded through the fourth quarter of 2021 without the need for additional capital or revenue. The startup said in a blog post in early 2021 that it planned to raise $5 million in the spring of 2020 to develop its technology – before being derailed by the pandemic.
San Francisco-based Cantos Ventures was founded in 2016 and claims to manage $55 million across multiple funds.
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- Title: Atomos Space obtains funds to develop its space tug business
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