The booming satellite industry has been a boon for Morpheus Space, which produces a modular electric propulsion system for small satellites.
Morpheus has raised a $28 million Series A, with which it intends to build a factory in Dresden, Germany, where it is based, and to increase the number of employees. It will allow the company to increase production of its propulsion systems to meet the exponentially growing demand in the smallsat market; since 2019, the number of small satellite launches has increased by almost 450%.
In 2020, Morpheus launched its Nano Field Effect Electric Propulsion (NanoFEEP) thruster, which it claims is the “smallest and most efficient electric propulsion system in space” in the world.
Because the system is modular, NanoFEEP thrusters can be combined to create more powerful propulsion systems to meet the needs of a specific satellite. For example, a cluster of seven NanoFEEP thrusters is called a MultiFEEP, and more MultiFEEP thrusters can be added to maneuver larger vessels. This allows customers to avoid spending additional time and resources on developing custom propulsion systems for each of their satellites.
Since the launch of NanoFEEP, Morpheus has gained customers such as Spire Global, Antaris Space and Rocket Factory Augsburg – with many more on the way.
“In the last year, the number of contracts has increased by 250% and is growing more,” said István Lőrincz, president of Morpheus, who also spoke on the topic at last year’s TC Sessions: Space. “The new factory will help us meet the needs of our growing user base. We will show by example that the NewSpace industry needs to implement scalable business and production solutions as quickly as possible to meet the expected projections.”
Morpheus has already indicated his agility in two short years. “A major improvement we recently implemented in our hardware came in the form of a new propellant that has improved the performance of our propulsion systems. It is non-toxic and non-corrosive with zero transport or handling restrictions,” Lőrincz said, noting that it previously the fuel used gallium.
The company has also developed the Sphere ecosystem, an all-in-one suite that Morpheus claims sets it apart from the competition. “We offer a platform-agnostic AI for their satellite navigation, an application that helps plan the entire customer journey from design to satellite operations, mission design software for constellations and our world-class propulsion units,” Lőrincz said.
The funding round was led by Alpine Space Ventures, with participation from Vsquared Ventures, Lavrock Ventures, Airbus Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Pallas Ventures and Techstars Ventures. With thousands of satellites set to launch over the next few years, Morpheus has many more potential customers (and investors) to woo its system.