September 28, 2021

StarfishSpace Otter 400x275Starfish Space, a satellite servicing company founded by former Blue Origin engineers, has announced it raised $7 million in funding. The company is developing the Otter space tug, an efficient and versatile satellite servicing vehicle that can capture and move objects in orbit.

Up until now, missions to service existing satellites on-orbit, such as the Hubble Space Telescope, have been too large and expensive to be commercially available. With the 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 humans pusho toward on-orbit manufacturing and assembly.

The Otter has two primary missions: extend the life of large geostationary spacecraft, and dispose of space debris in low-earth orbit. Starfish Space said the missions will allow satellites to maximize their time spent providing value to the people on Earth. The Otter will likely become autonomous robotics infrastructure for a future off-world economy that could someday include manufacturing, assembling, upgrading, recycling, and mining, the company added.

The funding round was co-led by NFX and MaC Venture Capital, with participation from PSL Ventures, Boost VC, Liquid2 Ventures, and Hypothesis. The money raised will allow Starfish Space to expand its team and accelerate the development of technologies for Otter. 

“I’m thrilled to be working with the Starfish Space team,” said Morgan Beller, a general partner at NFX. “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.”

The company said it 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,” said Adrian Fenty, managing general partner at MaC Venture Capital. “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.”

As part of the funding, the company said it has opened up several positions at its Kent, Wash. headquarters. With new talent, the company said it 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,” said 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.”

For more details on Starfish Space and its offerings, visit the company’s website here.