Humanity is becoming more and more reliant on space for communications; positioning, navigation and timing; weather monitoring; earth observation and other services, like IoT. These space systems now serve as utilities, a part of our critical infrastructure, that we rely on for everything from predicting weather events, to tracking wildfires, to navigating our way home.
As innovation and investment has flowed into the space industry and the cost of satellites, components, and launches have come down, we have now reached the point where new capabilities can be built on top of space infrastructure built by others. Our investment in Satelles is an example of this.
At C5 Capital USA LLC (“C5 Capital”), we believe that the transformation of critical infrastructure creates unique and scalable opportunities for a new generation of high growth companies. Our investment themes across Cybersecurity, Energy and Space focus on identifying and investing in early-stage technology businesses that are leading innovation that will shape our world for decades to come. There is no better example of such a business than Axiom Space, Inc. (“Axiom Space”), for which C5 Capital led the recently announced $130 million Series B funding round.
Axiom Space has commenced building and will own and operate the commercial successor to the International Space Station (“ISS”), which is expected to be decommissioned and de-orbited by the end of this decade. The Axiom Station represents state-of-the-art infrastructure positioned at the heart of the rapidly growing space economy to provide infrastructure-as-a-service for research, manufacturing, data computing and a destination for private and professional astronauts from across the globe.
We invested in Axiom Space because we believe in its founders. Dr. Kam Ghaffarian, Co-founder & Executive Chairman of Axiom Space, is an entrepreneurial force of nature and first-generation American who built himself from humble beginnings to serial entrepreneurial success. He founded Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Inc., which rose to become NASA’s second-largest engineering services contractor and the entity which trained NASA astronauts and operated the ISS. Mike Suffredini, Co-founder & President/CEO of Axiom Space, is one of the few people on the planet who actually have hands-on experience building and managing a space station. He served as NASA’s International Space Station Program Manager from 2005 to 2015 and oversaw the Station’s transition from assembly to operation and commercial utilization. We cannot think of a better leadership team to embark upon this transformational mission of creating the world’s first commercial space station than Kam and Mike, and the talent they have built around them.
We invested in Axiom Space because we believe now is the opportune time to invest in the emerging space economy. NASA’s investment in commercial crew and cargo transportation services has delivered systems that are now available for purchase, something that just wasn’t the case a few years ago. And NASA itself is readying itself for the post-ISS era by declaring its intent to become one of many customers in the burgeoning space economy. Axiom Space today is positioned as a one-stop-shop for research, manufacturing and destination missions to the ISS for government and private customers and the only organization providing long duration missions to countries outside of the ISS partnership. The company’s operating model is already validated with material, secured contracts from both NASA and private customers. Over the longer term, the Axiom Station will expand and then detach from the ISS, becoming a key enabler of the rapidly emerging space economy, providing infrastructure for research and manufacturing, and an important foundation for future exploration missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.
We invested in Axiom Space because we believe in the critical nature of this infrastructure and the incredible positive impact it can deliver to our lives on earth. As a Houston-based start-up, Axiom Space helps to propel our national leadership in the global race to space, while maintaining a commercial focus that serves governments and private customers from around the world. The Axiom Station will provide a dedicated venue for research in a micro-gravity environment, which has previously led to discoveries in medicine, materials and manufacturing. It will become a factory for products that can only be built in the unique environment of space. We also believe that the Axiom Station will become an invaluable host to data computing and data security services, supporting the expected exponential increase of data proliferation in space.
We believe that we are at the very beginning of the economic and commercial development of space, which will undergo rapid growth over the coming decade and beyond. In Axiom Space, C5 Capital has invested in an asset that will be at the center of this activity and represent critical infrastructure for our advance on earth and in space. We look forward to an exciting journey.