Magdrives Blasts off After Raising Solid Seed Funding

By Thomas Price Monday, January 4, 2021

With space travel seeing massive expansion both in commercial and government use in 2020, the expectations for 2021 remain equally as high for the industry. One major hurdle of the endeavor is that much of the propulsion technology, while effective in launch and short travel, cannot possibly maintain for long-distance space travel, the next major step for humanity. However, many different ideas for long-term solutions have been floated around and tested on a small scale in order to help bridge this gap.

Startup Magdrive sits quite possibly at the forefront of all of this, with their own spacecraft propulsion system. With the startup recently receiving seed funding, the question is now what the company does, how far this funding will take them, and what the next steps for the company are.

What Is Magdrive?

Magdrive is an aerospace propulsion startup that is creating a new method of spacecraft propulsion specifically designed for small satellites. As it currently stands, most satellites use chemical thrusters, which, while offering significant thrust, are very inefficient and require a massive payload of fuel in order to be successful. For instance, a satellite weighing 200 kilograms would require an immense 50 kilograms worth of hydrazine fuel to launch properly, which can also be quite expensive. In fact, that amount of fuel would cost roughly $1.82 million. Magdrive, on the other hand, is working to create a plasma thruster, which would result in significantly less payload while also being markedly cheaper than hydrazine fuel.

The startup’s plasma thruster would be wickedly efficient, resulting in one of the industry’s best power to mass ratios. The implications of Magdrive’s plasma thrusters, if they prove to be successful in practice, could be groundbreaking for the entire space industry.

On top of delivering high thrusts for all necessary satellite maneuvers and missions, Magdrive’s system has many other benefits. Of the many potential upsides to the startup’s plasma thrusters, the highlights are the high-density propellants, which burn 100 times hotter than a rocket and contain the plasma in magnetic fields. This technology would in turn reduce the overall mass, therefore lowering the costs of launch and motion. The improvements in the current propulsion landscape could open up the entire space travel industry to completely new missions.

On the commercial side, this type of progress would break open the possibilities to other business models that are currently limited by the thruster models in place today. Considering how monumental the upside for Magdrive is, many investors have put down funding in order to see the company grow.

Magdrive’s Seed Funding Round and Future Plans

In Magdrive’s seed funding round, the startup raised a solid £1.4 million ($1.887 million). The funding round was led by Founders Fund, with participation from Luminous Ventures, 7percent Ventures, and Entrepreneur First. Magdrive also has financial support from public entities such as the UK Space Agency and the European Union Development Fund.

This funding and support has given Magdrive a bit of room to help build on their current projects and expand for future plans. The main goal for the startup on the horizon is scaling up their current technology to the point where the plasma thrusters will be able to power manned spacecraft once they are in orbit. This would allow for more long-distance travel to the moon and possibly Mars.

Magdrive is a startup that is developing what could very easily be the next major step in space travel. With revolutionary plasma thruster technology and support from both private firms and public institutions, Magdrive looks set to skyrocket in the near future.

About the Author

Headshot for author Thomas Price

Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.

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