Home Markets Jed McCaleb’s space station company Vast acquires startup Launcher

Jed McCaleb’s space station company Vast acquires startup Launcher

by SuperiorInvest

The company’s first space tug, called Orbiter SN1, is undergoing final preparations for launch.


Space station company Vast announced Tuesday that it has bought startup Launcher, a move that effectively triples its workforce and expands its technology and IP suite.

“Building a space station is this complex task, and you need a lot of people to do it,” Vast founder and CEO Jed McCaleb told CNBC. “Just getting the engineers that Launcher has will make it faster [development].”

Vast aims to build human habitats with artificial gravity, which is a step more ambitious than the current zero-gravity environment of the International Space Station, or other private stations in full swing. The Launcher acquisition will add roughly 80 employees to Vastu’s existing 40 employees, and brings with it the company’s Orbiter satellite “space tug” and E-2 liquid rocket engine, which are currently in development.

“The technology that they’ve created — a lot of it is directly applicable to what we’re going to do, so we don’t have to redevelop it from scratch,” McCaleb said.

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The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“I can tell you that our investors and our team are happy; it’s a good outcome for both parties,” said Launcher founder Max Haot, who will join Vast as company president.

Based in Long Beach, Calif., Vast’s 115,000-square-foot facility was built last year by McCaleb, who created his cryptocurrency fortune. According to him, it is worth about 2.5 billion dollars Forbes. Before launching Vastu, McCaleb first dived into the space industry in 2021, joining the Board of Directors of Firefly Aerospace after an investment through a non-profit, he founded the Astera Institute.

Founder and CEO Jed McCaleb

A huge universe

McCaleb and Haot first met last summer, and Haot spoke with McCaleb about the potential of investing in Launcher, he told CNBC. While Haot has built Launcher “with less than $30 million in funding” since 2017, he said fundraising is “one of our biggest challenges,” and discussions with McCaleb quickly focused on mergers and acquisitions.

“Thanks to Jed, we now have much greater resources,” Haot said.

Vast and Launcher signed the deal on November 10, and the acquisition closed about a week ago.

Recent failure The Orbiter’s first missionwhich achieved certain goals but was unable to deploy more customer satellites on board, “didn’t play a role at all” in the acquisition process, Haot said.

The company expects two more Orbiter missions to fly later this year.

“Ultimately, our goal is a station that’s bigger than what the Orbiter is, but many of the same components and technologies are what end up flying on the station, so you need this platform to test that,” McCaleb said. .

The International Space Station is pictured from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Endeavor during a flyby around November 8, 2021.


While Launcher was developing a small rocket called Light, for which the E-2 engine was being tested, Vast announced that the company would not continue work on the rocket. And while McCaleb acknowledged that the E-2 engine isn’t something his company would have developed on its own, he said Launcher has made “tons of progress on it and it seems to be super valuable, so it’s not something we want to turn off.” “

McCaleb is Vastu’s sole sponsor for now as he pursues the long-term goal of building artificial gravity space stations.

“One of the benefits of being self-funded is that we’re not beholden to — not just economic cycles, but just the whims of investors in general,” McCaleb said.

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