Stoke-Space Technologies, with a C-level staff list that includes some hirings from Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk-backed businesses Blue Origin and SpaceX, has raised $9.1 million seed capital for the company’s development work on a rocket’s important second stage.
Musk’s SpaceX has solved (usually) the task of getting a rocket’s first stage back to Earth and Jeff Bezos is cracking the same challenge with its Blue Origin fleet. However, Stoke-Space is focusing on bringing back to Earth a rocket’s second stage.
Second stages are needed to propel a cargo into a much higher orbit. This presents the obvious challenges of higher speeds and deployment heights and thus a greater challenge in bringing the craft back safely to Earth.
The team Stoke-Space has assembled have expertise in working on the Bezos New Glenn and New Shepard projects as well as the all-important Merlin engines used by Musk’s Falcon 9 rockets.
The tasks are considerable, but quotes from Andy Lapsa, co-founder and CEO, while recognizing the complexity of the challenge, said that when a mission is optimized on cost and with the aim of recycling the second stage it would reduce the overall costs hugely.
“All launch hardware is reused time after time with aircraft-like regularity [and thus] zero refurbishment with 24-hour turnaround,” claimed Lapsa.
Moreover, Stoke-Space is not limiting itself to LEO projects but looking at geostationary transfer orbits and high-injection geostationary insertion.