Porsche Holding SE enters the space business. The Volkswagen parent participates in the Munich rocket manufacturer Isar Aerospace. There is a strategic calculation behind this.
The VW parent company Porsche Automobil Holding SE has joined the startup Isar Aerospace from Ottobrunn near Munich. The Stuttgart-based holding company of the Porsche and Piech families has acquired a stake in the low single-digit percentage range in the rocket manufacturer, as the company announced on Wednesday.”As an investor with a focus on mobility and industrial technologies, we are convinced that the inexpensive and flexible access to space will ensure innovations in many industrial sectors,” said Lutz Meschke, the Porsche manager responsible for investments.
First test flight in mid-2022
In addition to Porsche, several venture capitalists such as HV Capital, Lombard Odier and Lakestar were involved in the new financing round totalling 75 million dollars. In total, the young company has raised more than $ 180 million in funds to date. This is the largest round of financing by a European space company to date. Isar Aerospace, founded in 2018, has developed a so-called micro launcher, a small rocket for payloads of over 1000 kilograms. In particular, a high degree of automation in production should make the aircraft more cost-effective than conventional launch vehicles. The first test flight of the “Spectrum” is now scheduled to take place in mid-2022.
Strategic vision as if from a single source
Such launch vehicles can put small and medium-sized satellites into orbit – a technology that is also of strategic interest for the auto industry, especially for the future market with self-driving cars.The multibillionaire and Tesla boss Elon Musk is also an important pacemaker here: With the Starlink satellite network set up by his company SpaceX, which is supposed to offer worldwide internet access, autonomous Teslas could be controlled in the future. A one-stop strategic vision that makes classic car manufacturers look old again. Against this background, the commitment to the start-up that Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess personally paid a visit last December becomes more understandable. Compared to the ambitions of Musk, the commitment of the auto giant seems half-hearted at best.
“Understanding the importance of groundbreaking innovations”
“The support of new and existing investors is a strong signal for the momentum in commercial space travel,” said Isar Aerospace boss Daniel Metzler. The importance of space technology as a trailblazer for many business models and groundbreaking innovations was understood.In fact, the huge demand for satellites for communication and mobility networks in Germany has created an entire industry with over 100 start-ups, around half of which are involved in rocket manufacturing. Experts estimate that almost 10,000 satellites will be launched into space by 2028, the vast majority (86 percent) of them being small satellites weighing between one and ten kilograms.