Quantum Space ramps up with $15 million in funding for cislunar space vehicles – TechCrunch
Cislunar space is rapidly becoming ripe for government and civilian use. This is especially true in light of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon for the long term. But a ton of critical infrastructure will need to be in place before that happens: everything from communications systems to space domain awareness, and more.
This is where Quantum Space comes in. The startup, led by former NASA acting administrator Steve Jurczyk, is developing a fleet of platforms that would operate in cislunar space and provide a range of services. Just 10 months after announcing its plans, the company announced on Tuesday that it had closed $15 million in funding from Prime Movers Lab to further develop its lead product.
Jurczyk, who announced onstage at TC Sessions: Space last week that the company was wrapping up that Series A round, said it was difficult to go from fundraising as a top leader. level in a government agency at the head of a first- stage startup. He added that the pace of decision-making turned out to be another major difference between the two worlds.
“At NASA, we have to have 10 meetings, board, board and multiple reviews, and then all the information would come to me and I would eventually pull the team out and make a decision,” he said. “Then we walk into meetings at Quantum Space and it’s like, ‘Okay, Steve, we have options A, B, and C. Which one do you want to do?’”
“It was liberating and refreshing and also a bit scary.”
The company said it will use the new capital to continue development of QuantumNet — its name for the constellation of platforms, or “Scouts,” that will operate in cislunar space — beginning with the launch of the first Scout in October 2024. This mission, which Quantum Space announced last October, will carry a GEOST situational awareness payload and additional customer payloads. Blue Canyon Technologies will provide the space bus.
That first mission, dubbed QS-1, will be launched by carpool, but the company is developing a space tug called the Ranger that it plans to use to transport the scouts to their final destination in orbit. The company plans to place more than 40 scout vehicles in cislunar space by 2032.
“We started by focusing on what we call ‘the robotic outpost’, a spacecraft large enough for robotic capability with rendezvous proximity operations, to do maintenance, but then we since there was a need for more capabilities than that in cislunar space,” Jurczyk said. “So now we have a broader strategy […] and this has significantly increased our funding needs and funding timeline.
Quantum Space was founded in 2021 by Kam Ghaffarian, who also founded Axiom Space and Intuitive Machines. Prime Movers Lab is also an investor in Axiom.
Quantum said in a statement that it will use the funds to develop integration and test facilities, a mission operations center and to continue development of the company’s data platform and software for clients.