The Exploration Company Raises €40m For Reusable Space Capsule

The Exploration Company wants to provide a European solution to demand for space capsules.

Credit: The Exploration Company

The Exploration Company has raised €40 million ($43.6 million) in a Series A financing round to develop a reusable space capsule for human and cargo transportation to and from space. 

Funds raised will be used to launch a demonstrator capsule in 2024, the Franco-German startup said on Feb. 1. Money raised will also be used to complete development of the company’s first full-scale capsule, Nyx, planned for launch by 2026, and to hire additional employees.

“Nyx, our spacecraft, is the first space capsule to be privately funded, the first to use green propellants and the first to open source its operating system,” says Helene Huby, co-founder and CEO of The Exploration Company. “As such, we can enable nations, space and nonindustries and individuals to participate in and contribute to the building of the new space world.”

The Exploration Company aims to serve European customers, including space agencies. Eventually, it wants to transport cargo to the Moon’s surface and to the planned Lunar Gateway space station under NASA’s Artemis program.

“With no European solution to carry goods and humans to the space stations around the Earth and Moon, we are providing Europe with the capacity to participate in the exploration of new space worlds, while creating a sustainable, affordable and alternative global player,” Huby says.

SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft and Russia’s Soyuz re-entry module currently transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft also transports goods to the ISS, though it cannot re-enter the atmosphere.

The Exploration Company says it Nyx space capsule would be “launcher agnostic” and could be refueled in space. 

Several companies in recent years have started to develop space capsules to capitalize on demand to conduct experiments in space, as well as to serve anticipated demand for returning goods manufactured in space back to Earth.

The Space Exploration Company has dual headquarters in Bordeaux, France, and Munich. Its Series A round was led by EQT Ventures and Red River West.

Garrett Reim

Based in Los Angeles, Garrett covers the space sector and advanced technologies that are shaping the future of aerospace and defense, including space startups, advanced air mobility and artificial intelligence.