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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023

Inversion Space Sets Sights on Returnable Rockets With Seed Funding

Thanks to a flood of upstart rocket manufacturers in recent decades, sending objects into space is easier than it has ever been.

Bringing things back can be a little more complicated, and Torrance-based startup Inversion Space Co. aims to simplify that process.

The company announced Nov. 16 that it has closed a $10 million seed round to fund development of capsules capable of transporting valuable cargo from outer space safely back to Earth.

Co-founder and Chief Executive Justin Fiaschetti said the capsules would provide a low-cost option for return capability, opening up new possibilities for companies and government agencies performing a range of functions beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
“You could do these cool things — whether it be asteroid mining or lunar sample return or research or manufacturing in space — but you also have to do the return,” Fiaschetti said.

Establishing a clear option for return trips would free up potential customers to focus on the operation they are attempting to conduct in space, rather than on having to build their own capsules that can be sent back to Earth.

“We’ll tackle this one problem and let the talented people at these companies focus on the other stuff,” said Fiaschetti.

Launched earlier this year, Inversion is still in the early stages of developing its core product. Fiaschetti said the company aims to have a demonstration capsule ready by 2023 with a larger commercial version anticipated in 2025.

Plans call for this larger capsule to have a 4-foot diameter in order to accommodate bulkier items. Fiaschetti said the growing need for a product like this speaks to the rapidly growing capabilities of companies and organizations to access and perform a wide range of operations in space, thanks in part to the recent reduction of launch costs driven by companies like Hawthorne-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Long Beach-based Rocket Lab USA Inc.

Inversion has already attracted an impressive list of early investors, including Spark Capital, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Embedded Ventures and FundersClub Inc.
Fiaschetti said the funding raised so far will be used to build out Inversion’s team of employees, noting that he and co-founder Austin Briggs chose to launch the company in the Los Angeles area to draw on the region’s pool of talented engineers and aerospace industry veterans.

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