Bellevue, Washington – May 23, 2011 – Space Angels Network, LLC, a national network of seed‐ and early‐stage investors focused on aerospace‐related ventures, today announced that Richard M. David, a Space Angels Network member and managing member of the Orrery Group, LLC, led a seed‐stage investment in Altius Space Machines (ASM) of Louisville, Colorado. The investment corresponds with ASM’s successful testing of its “Sticky Boom” electro‐adhesive rendezvous and capture technology on a microgravity flight provided by the Zero Gravity Corporation on May 14, 2011. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.
Electrostatic Adhesion technology uses thin plastic pads with embedded electrodes to create a “static cling”‐like force that enables sticking to almost any surface‐‐anything from wood and brick to metals and plastics. The flight test demonstrated the ability of a Sticky Boom to attach to a metal ball in zero‐gravity, much like the ball that would be used to return rock samples from Mars as part of NASA’s planned Mars Sample Return mission. The test was a success with multiple successful captures of the simulator ball in microgravity.
Mr. David and his investment firm, The Orrery Group, LLC, joined Space Angels Network earlier in 2011 in order to find unique investment opportunities in the space industry.
“I am very pleased to announce our seed investment in Altius Space Machines, which was made because of their potential to tap the auxiliary component market of commercial space,” said David. “This investment is in line with Orrery’s vision of investing in those NewSpace companies positioned to grow from the privatization of space. Space Angels Network creates a big advantage for me as an investor in terms of unique aerospace deal‐ flow and the ability to leverage the Space Angels Network community when conducting due diligence and for finding co‐investors.”
Jonathan Goff, CEO of Altius Space Machines, said “We are excited to have the Orrery Group involved as one of our seed‐round investors. Their investment was a big vote of confidence in our technology and enabled us to push this technology much more aggressively than we could have under our existing NASA Small Business Innovation Research contract.”
He continued, “Our recent technology maturation sprint has been very exciting. When we decided to go for it, we were not even sure it was actually possible, but we pulled together a great team and made the impossible happen. Our successful microgravity test program has opened a lot of doors that will help us keep accelerating the development of this technology.”
“The Orrery Group’s investment in Altius Space Machines exemplifies our network’s ability to connect investors with unique aerospace ventures and to help facilitate the investment process,” said Joe Landon, managing director of Space Angels Network. “With our growing base of individual and institutional investors, we expect Space Angels Network to enable many more such investments in the growing commercial space industry.”
About Space Angels Network, LLC
Space Angels Network is a professionally managed national network of seed‐ and early‐stage investors focused on aerospace‐related ventures. Space Angels Network members share a common passion for promoting the development of the aerospace industry and related technologies while also earning attractive returns on private investments. Space Angels Network facilitates investment in aerospace‐related ventures by connecting entrepreneurs and investors on its online deal management platform and through periodic Aerospace Venture Forums, which offer entrepreneurs opportunities to meet face‐to‐face with accredited investors and present their ventures for their consideration. Through its extended strategic relationships with venture capital firms, federal science and technology agencies, state economic development organizations, research universities, incentive prize organizations, and other partners, Space Angels Network creates a robust ecosystem for both aerospace entrepreneurs and investors to connect for seed‐ and early‐stage financing. For more information, please visit spaceangels.wpengine.com.
About Altius Space Machines
Altius Space Machines is a Louisville, Colorado based commercial rapid‐prototyping and development company, which is creating the tools of an affordable space infrastructure. Altius’ initial product focus is developing a device to reduce the risk and hassle of space rendezvous and docking. This ElectroAdhesive “Sticky Boom”, similar to tractor beams from science fiction, enables a spacecraft to reach out and stick to almost any other target in space, enabling solid control of the target while both bodies are still at a safe separation distance. Potential applications include capture and disposal of space debris, satellite life extension & retrieval, frequent and lower‐cost deliveries to and departures from orbital space stations and propellant depots, and grabbing samples from asteroids or cometary bodies for space science missions. Altius is collaborating with SRI International of Menlo Park, California, the inventor of Electrostatic Adhesion to mature and commercialize this exciting new technology for NASA, DoD, and commercial applications.
About Orrery Group, LLC
Orrery Group is a New York based investment vehicle that supports extraordinary entrepreneurs determined to commercialize space. Orrery achieves its mission through Orrery Group, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, formed in 2009. Orrery backs seed‐ to late‐stage startups – both domestic and abroad – positioned to take advantage of the commercialization of space. At Orrery, several sub‐sectors are of particular interest: RLV/EELV development, nano/cubesat manufacturing, microgravity experimentation, space tourism, ground control/logistics, payload integration, innovative propulsion technologies, remote sensing, UAVs, space habitats, astronaut training facilities, and real estate positioned in the path of commercial space growth. Due to the high risk of commercial space start‐ups, Orrery seeks out working hardware (versus power point rockets), proprietary, protected technological advances; business model innovations; unique partnerships; and top‐notch teams.