In late 2022, Benchmark Space Systems announced plans to increase production of its Halcyon high-test peroxide thrusters (pictured) and Xantus metal plasma thrusters. Credit: Benchmark Space Systems

SAN FRANCISCO – Benchmark Space Systems raised $33 million in a Series B funding round.

With the money raised, Benchmark plans to shift its focus from propulsion system research and development to manufacturing and testing.   

News of the investment round came on the heels of layoffs by the Burlington, Vermont-based startup.

“The fundraising process began months ago and is not directly related to our team realignment, which recently resulted in about a 15 percent reduction of our team of 118 people,” Benchmark CEO Ryan McDevitt told SpaceNews by email. “We’ve been strategizing about how to best scale to successfully execute on our next phase of development in tandem with the fundraising process, and believe we are very well positioned to meet the current and future needs and demands of commercial and government.”

Growing Backlog

Benchmark has grown rapidly in the past couple of years due in part to its acquisition of Alameda Applied Science Corp.’s electric propulsion technologies. After acquiring the electric propulsion technology, Benchmark expanded its product line to include chemical, electric and hybrid propulsion systems.

The funding provides the capital we need to deliver on a growing number of government and commercial contracts coming in for a wide range of non-toxic chemical, electric and hybrid propulsion systems,” McDevitt said. “Benchmark is quickly transitioning from research and development to a strong focus on production.”

As Benchmark customers expand satellite production, Benchmark “is scaling up our assembly and testing capabilities,” McDevitt said. “Our refined strategy and capital raise will enable Benchmark to better address and meet the evolving demands and innovations required for successful commercial and government missions set to launch over the near term 12 to 24 months and longer-term projects throughout the next three to five years.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...