Arkadia Space
Arkadia Space will use its seed funding to expand its facilities and workforce developing spacecraft thrusters that use green propellants. Credit: Arkadia Space

WASHINGTON — A Spanish company developing green propulsion systems for spacecraft has raised $3 million in seed funding.

Arkadia Space announced Oct. 25 it closed what it described as an oversubscribed seed round of funding. The round was led by Draper B1, a Spanish venture capital firm that is part of the U.S.-led Draper Venture Network. Expansion Ventures, a European venture fund focused on space and air mobility startups, also participated in the round.

In addition, several angel investors are backing Arkadia Space, among them Pedro Duque, the former Spanish astronaut and science minister, and Antoine de Chassy, founder of Loft Orbital. Both will be advisers to the company.

“We are proud to have the support of top-tier funds like DraperB1 and Expansion, who have firmly decided to invest in the growth of the space sector in Spain. We are also honored to have first class advisors, whose experience and network will be vital for Arkadia’s success in the coming years,” said Francho Carcia, chief executive and co-founder of Arkadia Space, in a statement.

The funding will allow Arkadia Space to expand its facilities and workforce in Castellón, Spain, and accelerate development of a hypergolic bipropellant spacecraft thruster. The company is completing work on a small monopropellant thruster, producing five newtons of thrust, it expects to start marketing in 2024 with a demonstration flight planned for late next year.

The company was founded in 2020 by four former members of the propulsion team at PLD Space, the Spanish launch vehicle startup. It is emphasizing its use of non-toxic “green” propellants, such as hydrogen peroxide and a proprietary fuel, as alternatives to hydrazine. That propellant has long been used on spacecraft because of its performance but is difficult to handle and faces increasing restrictions on its use.

“Francho and his team have managed to develop a market-ready product in less than three years and secure significant strategic partnerships,” said Raquel Bernal, managing partner and investment director at Draper B1. “This indicates, on one hand, excellent execution by the team and, on the other hand, a growing maturity in the Spanish spacetech sector.”

In addition to the seed round investment, Arkadia Space has received funding from the European Space Agency, including one that is part of the agency’s Future Launchers Preparatory Program.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...