Oxford Space Systems raises £6.7m to make it quicker and cheaper to launch satellites

Oxford Space Systems CEO and Founder Mike Lawton at their facilities in Harwell, Oxfordshire, 25 August 2017.

Oxford Space Systems has raised an additional £6.7m in funding, bringing the total amount raised since the company’s launch in 2013 to £10m.

Oxford Space Systems (OSS) builds SpaceTech, including deployable antennas and panel systems, that are lighter, less complex and costly than those that are currently available – according to the firm.

This Series A funding, which was led by Longwall Ventures, makes OSS one of the most highly funded UK SpaceTech start-ups. 

A syndicate of investors including IQ Capital, Foresight Williams, OTIF, Midven and Wren also contributed to the current round. The money will be used to open its new headquarters at the Harwell Space Cluster and to develop OSS’s technology, which uses light materials and origami engineering techniques to reduce storage volume.

OSS’ tech is important for a number of reasons. Satellites are expensive; it currently costs approximately £30,000 per kilo to launch into orbit (according to stats from OSS), so reducing the weight can save a lot of money.

Launching satellites is also a slow process. OSS claim to have reduced the time it takes to launch a satellite into space from 10 years (as estimated by NASA) to 30 months.

Mike Lawton, CEO and founder, said this is an exciting time for OSS: “Closing the latest round and moving to our own facility at the Harwell Space Cluster puts us in an excellent position to address the global opportunities we’re being approached with.

“I launched the company after realising that deployable antennas and structures are often a neglected area of a spacecraft – an area ripe for innovation. With OSS, we’re creating a step change by using innovative materials and a new approach to volume product build – and this investment is as much a recognition of our successes in delivering on this vision to date,” he continued.  

He went on to say that commercial space is a large and rapidly growing market that will be worth trillions of dollars over the next decade. David Denny, partner at Longwall Ventures, added: “We are delighted to see what the OSS team have achieved since Longwall first invested in 2013.  We have valued working with IQ Capital along with the other major investors in this and earlier funding rounds.”

Ed Stacey, partner at IQ Capital concluded:It’s been a pleasure to work with OSS as the company has moved from strength to strength over the past few years. Having proven the value and reliability of its technology in space flight, and having made the transition from start-up to scale-up with this latest round of funding, OSS is now able to respond to the growing global demand for deployable space structures.

OSS’ current round is still open until September 2018, and the company hope to raise up to an additional £1.3m.