In a remarkable stride for the space industry, Stoke Space, a pioneering US-based rocket company with a mission to craft the world's most efficient and rapidly reusable rockets, has announced a momentous infusion of $100 million in Series B funding. Fresh off the heels of a successful low-altitude flight test of its prototype "Hopper2," this funding milestone stands as a defining juncture, effectively doubling the company's total funding to an impressive $175 million. Additionally, Stoke has unveiled the official moniker of its debut rocket: "Nova."
Industrious Ventures led the charge in this funding round, joined by noteworthy contributors such as the University of Michigan, Sparta Group, Long Journey, and several other key players in the space sector. The round also witnessed unwavering support from existing investors, including the likes of Breakthrough Energy, YCombinator, Point72 Ventures, NFX, MaC Ventures, Toyota Ventures, and In-Q-Tel. Furthermore, as a testament to Stoke's vision and potential, Steve Angel, Chairman of the Board at Linde plc and former Linde CEO, has been appointed to Stoke's Board of Directors. Angel will also hold a position on the Board of Directors of GE. This injection of funds underscores the burgeoning growth of space technology, as 2023 witnesses a surge in investments in the sector.
Armed with this substantial funding, Stoke is primed to channel it towards critical development areas. This includes the advancement of the first-stage rocket engine and structure, the refinement of the orbital version of the reusable second stage, and the construction of new facilities at Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. Significantly, Launch Complex 14 holds historical significance as the launch site of NASA's Mercury-Atlas 6 flight, a historic moment in space exploration piloted by NASA Astronaut John Glenn in 1962.
Furthermore, Stoke intends to utilize these funds to finance the development of essential components for its future launches. As Andy Lapsa, CEO and Co-Founder of Stoke Space, puts it, "Our vehicle designs build on the ideas and achievements of prior generations. The name Nova is a way to honor that past heritage while looking ahead to a very exciting future."
These groundbreaking announcements were unveiled during a session at the UP.Summit in Dallas, an exclusive gathering featuring 250 of the world's top innovators who are reimagining the future of transportation. Notably, the collective representation of a staggering $1 trillion in investable capital from investors in attendance underscores the profound interest and support for Stoke's visionary mission.
This substantial funding follows Stoke's triumphant vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) developmental test flight of its reusable second stage, which took place on September 17 at Stoke's testing facility in Moses Lake, Washington. The successful test showcased Stoke's groundbreaking hydrogen/oxygen engine, regeneratively cooled heat shield, differential throttle thrust vector control system, avionics, software, and ground systems.
Founded in 2019 by Tom Feldman and Andy Lapsa, Stoke is unwavering in its commitment to revolutionize the space economy by offering cost-effective, on-demand transportation to, through, and from space. Stoke stands out by approaching rocket development differently, prioritizing the testing and development of the second stage before launching the first stage. Additionally, the company is focused on creating fully and rapidly reusable rockets and space vehicles, with the goal of achieving aircraft-like frequency in launches. Stoke's endeavors are fortified by funding from key entities, including the U.S. Space Force, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and various government and private partners.