Loft Orbital raises US$140m in funding and later orders more satellite buses from LeoStella/Airbus

by | Jan 27, 2022 | Finance, Satellites, Seradata News

American “Space infrastructure” company Loft Orbit raised US$140 million in funding in December. Its largest fundraising round to date was led by BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager and renowned for its investment in the space industry. Loft Orbital declined to reveal its valuation following this investment.

 

Satellite Orders

In early January, Loft Orbital announced it had ordered an undisclosed number of satellite buses from LeoStella. This marks a return to this supplier for Loft Orbital, which will integrate hosted payloads for future YAM missions on these platforms. At least two further YAM missions were known at the time of order, YAM-7 and YAM-8. The company has said these missions are planned for launch in H1 2023.

Later in the month the company ordered 15 satellite platforms from European manufacturer Airbus DS. This order, revealed on 14 January, is for the Arrow-bus which was initially designed for the OneWeb communications constellation. As part of the deal, initial units are expected to be built in Airbus facilities in France before being delivered to Loft Orbital. Later units will be built by OneWeb Satellies’ (an Airbus/OneWeb JV) Florida manufacturing plant.

Airbus is making attempts to repurpose and market the Arrow platform for other mission types, such as Earth observation, away from its communications roots. With the mass-production capabilities of the Florida factory, it is expected that all the satellite platforms will be delivered in 2023.

The reasoning behind Loft Orbital’s seemingly bold Airbus order was clarified days later by a contract confirmation from EarthDaily Analytics (EDA). On 18 January, EDA revealed it had contracted with Loft Orbital to build, launch and operate its planned 10-unit fleet. This deal, valued at US$150 million, will utilise the aforementioned Arrow platforms to host it “super-spectral” payload. EDA anticipates the deployment of its fleet (nine active units and one in-orbit spare) in 2023.

A rendering of a future EDA satellite in orbit. Courtesy of EarthDaily Analytics

 

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