More than five years after the establishment of Renton, Washington – the U.S. – based radian aerospace company is getting rid of stealth mode and reported a round of seed funds of $27.5 million to support its plan to build an orbital space shuttle.
This round of financing is led by fine structure ventures headquartered in Boston, with additional funds from EXOR, venture collective, Helios capital, spacefund, gainels, private equity funds, Explorer 1 fund, type one ventures and other investors.
Radian has previously introduced pre seed investment, but the newly announced funds should accelerate its progress.
Doug Greenlaw, an investor and strategic adviser of the company and former Lockheed Martin executive, said that radian is pursuing the “Holy Grail” of space access, and its fully reusable system will provide single stage to orbit (SSTO) launch.
It costs more than $27.5 million to capture the Holy Grail: NASA spent nearly $1 billion on Lockheed Martin’s X-33 single stage orbit concept in the late 1990s until the project was cancelled in 2001. But radian executives argue that technological advances have made SSTO’s vision within reach.
Livingston holder, co-founder and chief technology officer of radian, said at a news conference today: “what we are doing is very difficult, but it is no longer impossible due to the significant progress in material science, miniaturization and manufacturing technology.”.
Holder was part of the U.S. Air Force manned space engineering program in the 1980s and later became a project manager at Boeing, focusing on reusable space systems. The design of the radian space plane was inspired by Boeing’s reusable aerodynamic space vehicle (rasp) concept in the 1970s.
Over the past few years, radian has been working on the development of rocket engines at its Renton headquarters and a test facility near Bremerton, Washington. Ars technica reports that the liquid fuel engine is designed to provide about 200000 pounds of thrust, and the space shuttle will be powered by three of them. According to Ars technica, the current design will support up to 5 people and 5000 pounds of goods to enter the track.
Radian said that its space plane called radian one will carry out sled assisted take-off and aircraft runway landing, and the turnaround time between missions is only 48 hours.
Richard Humphrey, chief executive and co-founder of radian, said: “over time, we intend to make space travel almost as simple and convenient as air travel.”. “We are not focused on tourism. We are committed to tasks to improve our life on earth, such as research, space manufacturing and ground observation, as well as key new tasks, such as rapid global delivery on earth.”
Previously: radian aviation pursued the unorthodox plan of orbital space aircraft
The company has not announced a timetable for development or operation, but its founders hope that the aircraft can serve commercial space stations, which may enter orbit in the 1930s. Radian said that it has signed launch service agreements with commercial space station enterprises, as well as aerospace manufacturers, satellite operators and freight companies, as well as with the U.S. government and “selected foreign governments”
It is worth mentioning that one of radian’s early investors was Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager space holdings. Voyager space is one of starlab’s partners in the commercial space station project.
“On demand space operations are a growing economy, and I believe radian’s technology can provide the appropriate scale and high-speed operations shown by market opportunities,” Taylor said. “I have full confidence in the team working at radian and look forward to cheering them on in this historic effort.”
We have contacted radian for further comments and will update this report based on any information we hear.