WASHINGTON — Stoke Space, a startup that recently tested a prototype of the upper stage of a reusable rocket, has raised $100 million to continue development of that vehicle.
The company announced the Series B round Oct. 5, tied to a presentation by the company’s chief executive, Andy Lapsa, at a transportation conference in Dallas. The round was led by Industrious Ventures, a venture fund that has invested in a dozen other space companies, with participation by several new and existing investors.
Stoke Space, based in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Washington, has now raised $175 million. The company did not disclose its valuation from the Series B round.
“This new round of funding is a huge vote of confidence in our team and the progress we’ve made,” Lapsa said in a statement about the round. “We will now continue moving through our development program by increasing focus on our reusable first stage.”
The company achieved a milestone in that development with a brief flight by an upper stage prototype called Hopper2. That 15-second flight at Moses Lake, Washington, on Sept. 17 was the culmination of a test campaign for the vehicle, which is designed to return to Earth and land vertically for rapid reuse.
In an interview after the flight, Lapsa said that the company would now turn its attention to the vehicle’s reusable first stage. “We should see things coming together pretty quickly,” he said of its development, which would enable full-scale orbital flight tests. “Our internal goal is 2025. I think there are opportunities to accelerate things even compared to that. We are working as fast as we can.”
The company said the funding would also go towards development of a launch site for the vehicle at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. In March, the Space Force allocated Launch Complex 14, a pad used by early Atlas launches that included John Glenn’s historic 1962 flight, to Stoke Space.
As part of the Series B round, Stoke Space added Steve Angel, chairman of the board of industrial gas company Linde plc and an adviser to Industrious Ventures, to its board. “Stoke Space has a track record that speaks for itself,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to working alongside the team in order to support the development of a new space economy.”
Stoke Space used the funding announcement to disclose the name of the launch vehicle it is working on: Nova. “Our vehicle designs build on the ideas and achievements of prior generations. The name Nova is a way to honor that past heritage while looking ahead to a very exciting future,” Lapsa said in the statement.