After Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk achieved their goal of reaching space, the billionaire space race has kept going and is attracting new participants. Such is the case of Porsche SE, the family’s holding company that controls VW Group, which has become the latest prominent investor to join the race looking to space as a reference to develop new technologies.
On Wednesday the company that turned VW Group into a global powerhouse revealed an investment in Germany’s Isar Aerospace. This startup company expects to rival Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin in the satellite launch and rocket markets. However, while SpaceX and Blue Origin have already launched human-crewed expeditions to space, Isar expects to launch small satellites next year.
Porsche SE is investing with HV Capital and Lombard Odier to inject $75 million into the company as part of a $165 million funding that includes other previous investors. In addition, Porsche said it would receive a single-digit percent stake at Isar.
“The funding will allow Isar Aerospace to further invest in its launch, testing, and manufacturing infrastructure for its largely automated rocket production and commercial operations,” said the company on Wednesday.
This happens in a time when small satellite launches are expected to come in high demand as companies of different sectors are set to need satellite technology to run software applications.
Even though this remains a small investment for Porsche SE, it is an overwhelmingly surprising move for a company that has invested heavily in the automotive industry for years. Moreover, some say it proves the importance of the space race for the development of new technology and marks the birth of a new booming industry.
“We are convinced that cost-efficient and flexible access to space will be an enabler of innovation in many industry sectors,” said Lutz Meschke, the Porsche SE executive in charge of investment management, in a statement. “With Isar Aerospace, we are investing in a company that is well-positioned to establish itself as a leading European manufacturer of launch vehicles,” he added.
Isar Aerospace claims to be the fastest-growing aerospace company in Europe; and counts with Airbus as one of its investors and first paying customers.
Does the move surprise you? Or did you expect automotive companies to start going into Aerospace? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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