Propelled by their first $5 million fundraising round, the French space company Dark is developing the firm’s capabilities at lightning speed.
In the short few months since inception, Dark has already built a multi-disciplinary team of experienced space engineers, secured its headquarters and test facilities, and acquired their first client commitments.
The operational team is now starting the roadmap toward the maiden launch of the company’s rocket from France by the summer of 2026.
As the founders focused on how to find the best solution for space applications, the firm was at the crossroads of legacy and innovation. As with some U.S. systems, the rocket takes off from an airport and, for the first time in space history, the same rocket will be capable of performing such missions as deorbiting services and high-altitude testing.
The key point of the company’s system is to provide the capability to launch to orbit from anywhere on the planet. To do so, Dark is collaborating with air and space agencies to define the rules, processes and equipment required to fulfill its mission.
As the company’s roadmap is to initiate a launch from France by 2026, their first step currently involves exchanges with DGAC and CNES. The new staff in charge of spaceports and hybrid launches is being integrated into the team and will define the operational steps and technical requirements essential to Dark’s solution, striking at the core of the European Union topics on space traffic.
After this first phase, the chosen launch airport will be communicated by the company and the inauguration payload will be unveiled.
“Dark is all about the future of spacecrafts. But, thinking about building a Space corporation, we realized that we could not rely only on the growth of the satellite market. So we included in our missions the applications and logistics that will make a difference 10 years from now,” said Guillaume Orvain, Co-founder & CTO of Dark.
“Earth and Space are long term runs and we really believe the best applications are yet to come. For us, three things are clear: first, we can act now to improve our reach in space with radical vision. Then, we can’t get in the way of our heirs that will live with the consequences of our choices. Finally, there is no short or easy way to do it. Our Mission at Dark is to build spacecrafts that will empower sustainable human activity in space. Our first system will accelerate new satellite applications and enhance active debris removal with emergency action, but also provide a hypersonic test platform that will contribute to the development of future generations of aircraft and spacecraft. It’s a planetary endeavor. We are recruiting specialists from all around the world, and there is room for everyone to come and join us: People, space businesses, agencies, governments,” said Clyde Laheyne, Co-founder and CEO of Dark.
The company will soon open a cooperative order book and give satellite operators the opportunity to embark on dedicated commercial launches aimed at competing with SpaceX’s rideshare.
Artistic renditions are courtesy of Dark.