Impulse Space Propulsion Lands $20M From Thiel Fund

Credit: Impulse Space Propulsion

Impulse Space Propulsion, a new in-orbit transfer services company founded by Tom Mueller, a SpaceX co-founder, on March 29 announced a $20 million investment in a seed round led by Founders Fund, the San Francisco-based venture capital firm established by famous technology investor Peter Thiel.

The money will go toward building up the company, which was launched in September 2021. 

“While Founders Fund is known for funding hard engineering development, our mission is to back companies creating new industries and founders pursuing their life’s work,” says Scott Nolan, partner at Founders Fund. “Impulse will be the leader in rapid, low-cost payload delivery beyond launch. Their entire founding team is on a mission to transform the economics of space development and we’re honored to back them.”

El Segundo, California-based Impulse’s near-term focus is on low Earth orbit services, including orbital transport of satellites to optimal orbits, in-orbit servicing, space debris deorbit and space station orbit-keeping. Longer term, Impulse expects to offer geostationary Earth orbit transportation services, as well as missions including lunar landers, asteroid resources, in-space manufacturing and propellant depots.

On March 23, the company announced that Barry Matsumori, a SpaceX veteran and until recently the CEO of space optical communications startup BridgeComm, was named chief operating officer.

Beyond several SpaceX veterans, other employees bring experience from NASA, General Electric, Joe Gibbs Racing, Virgin Group and other “Space 2.0 sector” upstarts. Several open positions are listed prominently on Impulse’s website.

Michael Bruno

Based in Washington, Michael Bruno is Aviation Week Network’s Executive Editor for Business. He oversees coverage of aviation, aerospace and defense businesses, supply chains and related issues.