DoD’s Strategic Investment in The Spaceport Company Fuels Innovation in Space Launch Technology

By Sophia Francise

June 30, 2023
A Mobile Based Launch Site

The Spaceport Company has received funding from National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) to design and construct its first comprehensive platform for sea-based rocket launches. 

Spaceport will be one of sixteen portfolio firms financed by NSIC for the fiscal years 2021-2023, with a total of $35 million allocated by Congress.1

The Department of Defense’s (DoD) NSIC program was established to fill the gap in reliable private venture finance available to early-stage, dual-use hardware businesses.

The lack of reliable money slows the commercialization of technology created in the United States and creates entry points for unreliable capital from our enemies. 

Hardware businesses can speed the development of products based on cutting-edge technologies essential to national security and economic competitiveness thanks to NSIC support, which also helps them avoid the risk of losing their technology to foreign rivals.

“Providing funding for hardware companies at key points of development reaffirms the commitment by the Department of Defense to nurture some of the most important technologies for our economy and national security,” said Tex Schenkkan, Director of NSIC. 

“The impact that government funding makes to these hardware companies is important to strengthening our innovation base and developing the companies that will become key creators of economic strength for the nation.”

How The Spaceport Company is Paving Way for Mobile Space Launches

The demand for launch is increasing, necessitating new spaceports for commercial and DoD purposes.

“There’s a growing need for on-demand launch capabilities that can be leveraged to replace or augment satellites,” said Lt. Gen. John Shaw, Deputy Commander of SPACECOM

New Space demands high cadence, fast turnaround, cost-effectiveness, and near manufacturing sites, while DoD needs responsive spaceports that are nimble, survivable, and disaggregated. 

According to The Spaceport Company, their spaceport infrastructure combines unique hardware, proprietary software, and U.S. government pre-approvals to enable mass transportation to and from orbit.

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The Spaceport Company recently conducted a prototype demonstration of a sea-based launch platform in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The NSIC funding is for the “design and development of its first full platform for sea-based rocket launches,” DIU said.

DoD views mobile launch pads that operate at sea as “one solution to the increasing congestion at major launch sites.”

The Spaceport Company’s mobile solution, said DIU, “has the potential to enable more launches in more locations without incurring environmental risks to people or shore-based assets. NSIC funding will enable the company to build a full prototype and its first operational system.”

References

  1. National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) News, ‘National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) Announces Funding Milestone’, 28 June 2023, https://www.nsic.mil/latest/national-security-innovation-capital-nsic-announces-funding-milestone[]
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