Wednesday, April 17, 2024

American MNC Lockheed Martin Ventures Collaborates with Helicity Space with Substantial Investment

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Helicity Space, a California-based startup pioneering fusion engines for space travel, disclosed an investment on April 2 from Lockheed Martin Ventures. Although the exact value of the investment remains undisclosed, Helicity’s co-founder Stephane Lintner emphasized the significance of Lockheed Martin’s backing, considering it as one of the “strategic partners crucial over the next decade,” as stated to the sources.

Among Helicity’s other strategic partners are Airbus Ventures and Voyager Space Holdings, both investors from the startup’s initial seed funding round announced in December. Headquartered in Pasadena, Helicity focuses on advancing technology to propel spacecraft utilizing short bursts of fusion energy.

Lintner highlighted the pressing need for propulsion advancements in deep space travel, citing fusion as a potential solution offering minimal propellant consumption, high power, and the capability to cover extensive distances.

In parallel, Lockheed Martin explores nuclear thermal propulsion in collaboration with NASA and the Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA), aiming to expedite deep-space transportation. Chris Moran, Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, stressed the necessity for alternative propulsion methods, particularly for missions beyond Mars, where propellant mass becomes a critical factor.

Lockheed Martin acknowledges the potential in Helicity’s plasma fusion approach, which utilizes plasma guns to generate intense plasma for fusion reactions. The company, alongside other investors, is funding Helicity to conduct further testing with four plasma guns, aiming to mitigate risks and assess thrust levels.

Moreover, Lockheed Martin’s involvement signifies potential long-term partnership and customer opportunities for Helicity, offering guidance in navigating the defense sector and attracting government support. Lintner noted that Lockheed Martin Ventures’ investment underscores the maturity of the field and validates Helicity’s technology due to the rigorous due diligence preceding the investment.

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