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Atomos Space announces an investment from Cantos Ventures, bringing total capital to $5 million in 2021. Cantos, an experienced deep-tech investor, joined forces with another unnamed aerospace investor in this round to realize the future of space mobility and logistics. Atomos Space, based in Denver, Colorado, builds orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs) that help satellite operators reach their place in space. Atomos was founded in late 2017 by Vanessa Clark and William Kowalski. The company has already secured over $2 million in contracts with NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force, and currently has over $200 million in customer interest for space mobility.

Although the barrier to entry for satellites into space has dropped significantly, many applications require orbits that are not available for satellites travelling with a larger payload. This is where Atomos’ OTVs come into play. By capturing customer satellites and transporting them to the target orbit, Atomos solves the last-mile problem in space at a fraction of the cost of launching its own. “Some customers need to procure multiple dedicated launches to deploy their constellation,” said William Kowalski, co-founder of Atomos and COO. “Our services halve their launch costs.”

Atomos’ advantage is their technical approach. Unlike similar systems under development, their OTVs reside in space and rendezvous with client satellites on-orbit, allowing more launch mass and volume for the payload and amortizing costs over many missions during the OTV’s lifetime. Atomos is focused on highly scalable, high-power electric and nuclear propulsion. “Current propulsion technologies are evolutionary dead ends and can’t scale into the future space economy. Our propulsion moves us in a new direction,” said Vanessa Clark, CEO and co-founder of Atomos.

“We see a massive need for companies like Atomos. We think of them as orbital Uber,” said Cantos Ventures Founder & Managing Partner, Ian Rountree. Their money is on Atomos because “we believe in the Atomos team and see their service and underlying technologies – like nuclear propulsion – as vital to our future.”

Since the 2021 investment, Atomos has doubled the size of its team and successfully completed ground tests of its autonomous rendezvous and docking technology and integrated propulsion system. Atomos expects to launch its first two spacecraft, Quark and Gluon, in 2023 and looks forward to further extending the reach of humanity.