Orbion Secures $20M in Series B Funding to Scale up Production of Plasma Thrusters for Satellite Constellations

Orbion engineers manufacture a Hall-effect thruster in Orbion’s Houghton, Mich. thruster fabrication facility. (Credit: Orbion Space Technology)

Funding led by Inventus Capital Partners will focus on manufacturing and automation to meet increasing demand.

HOUGHTON, Mich., June 24, 2021 — Orbion Space Technology, developer of next-generation smallsat electric propulsion solutions, today announced it has raised $20M in Series B funding in an oversubscribed round led by Inventus Capital Partners, a venture firm focused on developing companies that are defining and dominating high-growth markets. Additional participants in the round include Material Impact, Beringea, and Wakestream Ventures. 

With Orbion’s Aurora Hall-effect plasma thruster system seeing widespread market acceptance, the company has quickly outgrown its existing manufacturing infrastructure. 

“We have built and are operating a state-of-the-art space manufacturing factory, but due to unprecedented market demand we are at a point that additional capital will help us to scale our production capacity to 100s of units per year with no sacrifice in quality,” said Brad King, Co-Founder and CEO of Orbion.

Orbion’s Aurora propulsion system utilizes the spacecraft’s electrical power to provide gentle but very fuel-efficient thrust that is required by commercial constellations, demanding government applications, and deep-space science missions. Aurora is used throughout the life of a spacecraft to raise the orbit altitude, avoid in-space collisions, and finally de-orbit the spacecraft at end of life.

Orbion’s unique manufacturing approach combines best practices developed in the automotive and tactical missile industries to achieve the optimal combination of capacity, low-cost, and high-reliability.

As the demand for electric propulsions increases, Orbion has been receiving and responding to high interest from constellation builders, with an estimated $1B in market opportunities. Recent notable contracts include the Department of Defense and Blue Canyon.

Two Orbion Hall-effect thrusters on a vibration test table to ensure they can survive the launch vibrations. (Credit: Orbion Space Technology)

“The space game is changing. Large satellites are being replaced by a multitude of nano-satellites; just like the PCs replaced mainframes. Orbion is providing these nano-satellites maneuverability to get into more precise orbits and stay there longer,” said Kanwal Rekhi, MD, Inventus Capital Partners.

“Owning the whole manufacturing process is key to controlling quality and ensuring responsiveness for our customers,” said Brad King, Founder and CEO of Orbion Space Technology. “We considered various business models that employed contract manufacturers to build our thrusters, but at the end of the day the thruster carries an Orbion brand and our customers need to know that it was built entirely by experts in the field. We are strong believers in vertically integrated manufacturing, and we are excited to scale our best-in-class space factory operations.”

About Orbion Space Technology

Orbion Space Technology develops revolutionary propulsion systems that allow small satellites to achieve more in space environments, including the first-ever Hall-effect plasma thruster designed expressly for mass production. Orbion designs and develops these systems and innovates novel techniques and processes for mass-manufacture to meet the rising demands of New Space customers. The team brings a wealth of expertise across areas such as plasma thrusters, space electronics, orbital mechanics, manufacturing, and space business. For more information, please visit www.orbionspace.com.

About Inventus Capital Partners 

Inventus Capital Partners is a venture firm investing in technology-powered companies participating in global markets, and it has committed its experience, networks, mentoring, and resources — in both India and Silicon Valley — to companies that are defining and dominating high-growth markets. Inventus Capital Partners is headquartered in Menlo, California. For further information, please visit https://inventuscap.com