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Moses Lake-bound rocket maker secures funding

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | February 26, 2021 1:00 AM

RENTON — Stoke Space Technologies announced early Thursday the company has secured $9.1 million from a pair of California-based venture capital companies to continue research on reusable rocket engines.

The company, which aims to create reusable second-stage or boost-to-orbit engines, signed a five-year lease with the Port of Moses Lake in late January to create a rocket engine testing facility in the port’s new Westside Employment Center.

In a statement Thursday, Stoke said San Francisco-based NFX and MaC Venture Capital jointly lead a large group of investors to back the company’s research and development efforts to create a “100% re-usable second stage” designed to boost payloads into earth’s orbit.

“If space is the next frontier, we need more efficient transit to and from space,” said Morgan Beller, a general partner and lead investor with NFX. “We need more efficient transit to and from space. Stoke plans to significantly improve the cost and availability constraints of the existing market, which will increase the innovation and demand around what’s possible.”

Stoke Space Technologies was founded in late 2019 by Andrew Lapsa and Thomas Feldman, both veteran engine designers with Amazon founder and billionaire industrialist Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin project to create a reusable rocket. In 2020, Stoke received a $225,000 National Science Foundation award to begin design on reusable upper rocket stages.

“What makes today so exciting is that for the first time in history we have all the technical and economic ingredients needed to build a massive economy in space,” Lapsa said in the press release. “We started Stoke to finally put those ingredients together.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.