Vestigo Aerospace, a space technology company focused on deorbit systems, has closed a seed funding round with an investment of $375,000 from Manhattan West, a Los Angeles-based strategic investment firm. NASA will provide a 1:1 match of Manhattan West’s investment through a Small Business Innovative Research Phase II-Extended (SBIR Phase II-E) contract.
The seed funding and the matching NASA SBIR Phase II-E award will enable Vestigo Aerospace to establish the commercial manufacturing process for Vestigo’s product line of dragsails currently in development. The dragsails are designed to enable the timely deorbit of space vehicles, including CubeSats, small satellites and launch vehicle upper stages. Initial sales are anticipated for 2023.
Vestigo’s dragsails offer standardized mechanical and electrical interfaces to the host vehicle, allowing straightforward integration. The dragsails can be deployed on command or via a backup timer, providing reliable deorbit capability even if the host vehicle is inoperative.
“The Spinnaker product line of dragsails addresses the growing need for reliable end-of-mission deorbit capability in order to maintain the sustainability of low-Earth orbit,” said David Spencer, founder and CEO of Vestigo Aerospace. “Bolt-on dragsails represent an ‘ounce of prevention’ approach to the orbital debris problem that, if left unchecked, could halt the growth of the orbital economy.”
Lorenzo Esparza, founding principal and CEO at Manhattan West, said, “At Manhattan West, we are committed to being active investors in emerging spaces, disruptive sectors, and identifying long-term secular shifts developing in the markets. We’re thrilled that our strategic investment in Vestigo will support the company’s development as it establishes its name as a leading player in deorbit systems and the space industry.”
Spinnaker dragsails are sized to enable the host vehicle to meet regulatory guidelines for deorbit duration. Currently, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission mandates deorbit from low-Earth orbit within 25 years of end-of-mission. The FCC offers streamlined licensing, with cost savings in application fees of over $440,000, for commercial small satellites that can deorbit within six years of launch. The FCC has an upcoming vote on September 29, 2022, which is likely to mandate a 5-year deorbit requirement for all satellites.
Before the seed round, Vestigo Aerospace funded dragsail technology development through NASA SBIR Phase I and Phase II contracts, and matching funds from Indiana-based Elevate Ventures. For more information on the evolution of Vestigo and its commercial dragsail solutions, visit vestigoaerospace.com.
Vestigo Aerospace licensed the dragsail technology through the Purdue Research Foundation of Office Technology Commercialization. The company was a client of the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups.
About Vestigo Aerospace
Established in 2019, Vestigo Aerospace has quickly become an industry leader in dragsail technology. Vestigo is committed to preserving the space environment and high-utility orbits through deorbiting SmallSats and CubeSats. For more information, visit: vestigoaerospace.com.