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The Exploration Company nets €40M for green space capsule

Feb 1, 2023
A rendering of an Exploration Company space capsule orbiting Earth.

A rendering of an Exploration Company space capsule. Rendering: The Exploration Company

The Exploration Company announced a €40.5 million (∼$44 million) Series A to propel its plans to build a reusable, green-fueled space capsule.

Why it matters: The Exploration Company wants to build the European rival to SpaceX, whose capsules ferried cargo and crew to the International Space Station.

Details: EQT Ventures and Red River West led the all-equity round.

  • Ted Persson, partner at EQT Ventures, and Alfred Vericel, founding partner of Red River West, are joining the company's board.

What they're saying: "We saw The Exploration Company as a very rare opportunity to back a European company that could reach the same scale" as SpaceX, Persson tells Axios.

Zoom in: The company will use what it says is a nontoxic, green propellant and a capsule that can be reused at least five times (an amount similar to SpaceX capsules).

The intrigue: The Exploration Company says it's relying solely on private funding.

  • Founder and CEO Hélène Huby says she's happy to remain privately funded, a stance she says makes the company more nimble than competitors that partly depend on funding from government agencies such as NASA.
  • That said, Huby is aware that such an approach has consequences.
  • "Private investors are not willing to accept huge delays," Huby tells Axios. "We need to show very soon that we’re going to have anchor clients."

What's next: The company plans to launch a "baby" capsule this year that measures about two feet across.

  • The Series A funding will fund a subsequent "teenage" capsule, Huby says.
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