Accion Systems takes on $3M in Boeing-led round to advance its tiny satellite thrusters

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Accion Systems, the startup aiming to reinvent satellite tv for pc propulsion with an progressive and tiny new thruster, has attracted vital funding from Boeing’s HorizonX Ventures. The $three million spherical ought to give the corporate a little bit of respiration room whereas it continues to show and enhance its know-how.

“Investing in startups with next-generation ideas accelerates satellite tv for pc innovation, unlocking new prospects and economics in Earth orbit and deep area,” stated HorizonX Ventures managing director Brian Schettler in a press launch.

Accion, whose founder and CEO Natalya Bailey graced the stage of Disrupt just some weeks in the past, makes what’s referred to as a “tiled ionic liquid electrospray” propulsion system, or TILE. This technique is very environment friendly and could be made the dimensions of a postage stamp or a lot bigger relying on the necessities of the satellite tv for pc.

Instance of a TILE hooked up to a satellite tv for pc chassis.

The corporate has examined its tech in terrestrial amenities and in area, nevertheless it hasn’t been used for any missions simply but — although which will change quickly. A pair of student-engineered cubesats outfitted with TILE thrusters are scheduled to take off on RocketLab’s first huge business payload launch, “It’s Enterprise Time.” It’s been delayed a couple of occasions however early November is the subsequent launch window, so everybody cross your fingers.

One other launch scheduled for November is the IRVINE 02 cubesat, which can sport TILEs and go up aboard a Falcon 9 loaded with provides for the Worldwide Area Station.

The Boeing funding (Gettylab additionally participated within the spherical) doesn’t embrace any ensures like equipping Boeing-built satellites with the thrusters. However the firm is definitely already devoted to this kind of tech and the association is characterised as a partnership — so it’s undoubtedly a risk.

Natalya Bailey and Rob Coneybeer (Shasta Ventures) at Disrupt Berlin 2017.

A Boeing consultant informed me that that is aimed to assist Accion scale, and that the latter could have entry to the previous’s testing amenities and experience. “We consider there shall be many purposes for Accion’s propulsion system, and might be monitoring and assessing the tech because it continues to mature,” they wrote in an e mail.

I requested Accion what the brand new funding might be directed in the direction of, however a consultant solely indicated that it will be used for the standard issues: analysis, operations, employees bills, and so forth. Not some huge skunk works undertaking, then. The corporate’s final massive spherical was in 2016, when it raised $7.5 million.

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