French small launch developer Latitude has closed $30 million in new capital forward of the primary flight of its Zephyr rocket in 2025.
Whereas different rocket corporations are getting larger and creating much more large rockets, Latitude is taking a special strategy: gentle, small and hopefully low-cost sufficient to beat the competitors. The primary rocket, Zephyr, will stand simply 20 meters excessive and be able to delivering as much as 100 kilograms of payload into low Earth orbit. (For reference, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has a payload capability of twenty-two,800 kilograms for LEO.) The 2-stage rocket shall be powered by eight 3D-printed engines known as Navier that Latitude is creating in-house.
In an announcement, Latitude CEO and co-founder Stanislas Maximin stated 2024 could be a “vital yr” earlier than Zephyr’s first flight in 2025.
The corporate even plans to make use of the funding to proceed creating the subsequent model of the Zephyr – a barely bigger launch car that may carry 200 kilograms of payload in 2028. As well as, Latitude stated in a press launch that the financing will allow institution of a brand new meeting line, manufacturing of the primary launch car, extra testing and workforce enlargement of the greater than 100-person group.
Latitude’s current buyers, Crédit Mutuel Innovation, Growth, Bpifrance through DeepTech 2030 and UI Investissement, in addition to Blast.membership, Kima Ventures and unnamed particular person buyers, contributed to the spherical. The corporate has raised practically $55 million up to now.
Latitude is a part of a rising variety of European launch startups seeking to enhance that continent’s personal launch capability, which is sorely missing as a consequence of persistent delays in next-generation rockets equivalent to Arianespace’s Ariane 6. Charles Beigbeder, a European enterprise capitalist at Growth, known as this out instantly in an announcement saying that “Europe should regain full sovereignty over house launchers.”
The French authorities has additionally made its personal efforts to help its personal house trade – which Latitude is already benefiting from. The nation’s DeepTech 2030 fund goals to speculate greater than 50 billion euros to reinvigorate the French deep tech ecosystem.