ABL has also begun testing an integrated RS1 upper stage with an E2 engine. E2 was developed in house and will power both the first and second stages of RS1.
FREMONT, CA: Small satellite manufacturing company ABL Space Systems was awarded two U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts and completed a massive round of funding with a combined value of USD 90 million. The two contracts and the investment round are vital to the company's rapid development of the RS1 launch vehicle and GS0 deployable launch system, with a demonstration launch scheduled for the first quarter of 2021. The DoD contracts were awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX, with participation from the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, for a combined total of USD 44.5 million, spread over three years. In addition, the company secured USD 49 million of financing led by Ethan Batraski at Venrock with participation from New Science Ventures, Lynett Capital, and Lockheed Martin Ventures. The recent investment round was closed on March 31st and will fully fund the company for three launch demonstration campaigns in 2021.
"We've completed hundreds of engine, stage, and ground system tests across multiple deployments to unimproved sites. All were performed on generator power with fully self-sufficient systems," said Dan Piemont, ABL founder, and CFO. "From the beginning, we've focused on developing tactically responsive launch CONOPS alongside our technology. The result is a large capacity, fit-for-purpose resilient launch system. I am excited to deliver value to our customers in the United States Government and our commercial customers across the U.S. and the globe with this technology."
ABL has also begun testing an integrated RS1 upper stage with an E2 engine. E2 was developed in house and will power both the first and second stages of RS1. Tests are being conducted at the Edwards Air Force Base under a CRADA with the AFRL Rocket Propulsion Division entitled 'Testing of Additive Manufactured Liquid Rocket Components and Engines in a Rapidly Deployable Architecture for Future Responsive Launch Operations.' This enables the company's use of the Area 1-56 test site. "AFRL was an early supporter and remains a key, trusted partner," said Harry O'Hanley, founder and CEO of ABL. "The AFRL team at Edwards Air Force Base is forward thinking and understands how to work with non-traditional contractors to rapidly innovate. Together, we're developing critical technology to meet the needs of the next generation warfighter and serve the burgeoning commercial space market."