©Health & Fitness Journal. FILE PHOTO: Firefly Aerospace’s first Alpha rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, on September 2, 2021. REUTERS/Gene Blevins
By David Carnevali and Joey Roulette
(Health & Fitness Journal) – FireFly Aerospace, the US rocket maker that reached orbit in space this month and joined SpaceX and Rocket Lab, is seeking up to $300 million in a private fundraising round, according to people familiar with the matter.
Firefly has yet to specify the target rating, the sources said. The space company was valued at more than $1 billion when private equity firm AE Industrial Partners became its majority shareholder in March.
The Cedar Park, Texas-based company is aiming to close the funding round by the end of the year, said the sources, who spoke anonymously as the matter was confidential.
Firefly chief executive officer Bill Weber told Health & Fitness Journal in an interview this month that the company was fundraising but didn’t give details. A FireFly spokesman declined to comment when asked about the fundraising, as did a spokesman for AE Industrial Partners.
Weber said in the interview that new funds would help the company complete construction of manufacturing facilities for its Alpha rocket in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and accelerate development of a larger rocket, which the company is partnering with Northrop Grumman Corp (NYSE:) wants to build.
Firefly’s Alpha rocket entered orbit for the first time on Oct 1. It is one of a handful of US space companies trying to launch small satellites.
Firefly is already taking orders worth about $15 million per launch for its 95-foot Alpha rocket, which offers governments and satellite companies a mid-range ride into space. SpaceX’s larger Falcon 9 rocket is priced at $62 million, and Rocket Lab’s smaller Electron rocket is priced at $7 million.
Firefly was saved from bankruptcy in 2017 by Ukrainian-born entrepreneur Max Polyakov’s Noosphere Ventures. U.S. national security concerns forced Noosphere to sell its majority stake in FireFfly to AE Industrial Partners, ending a months-long crisis that prevented the company from launching its rocket.
Investments in space companies with capital-intensive projects fell in the third quarter as decades of inflation and rapidly rising interest rates force investors to focus on companies with profitable products.
Venture capital investments in space companies fell 44% year over year, according to a quarterly report by VC firm Space Capital.