Latitude, an emerging French startup, secures impressive $30M in Series B funding for small launch endeavors

French small launch developer Latitude has closed $30 million in new capital as it eyes the first flight of its Zephyr rocket in 2025. While other rocket companies are going bigger, developing even more massive rockets, Latitude is taking a different approach: light, small, and hopefully cheap enough to beat out competitors. Its first rocket, Zephyr, will stand at just 62 feet and will be capable of delivering up to 100 kilograms of payload to low Earth orbit. The two-stage rocket will be powered by eight 3D-printed engines called Navier, which Latitude is developing in-house. In a statement, Latitude CEO and cofounder Stanislas Maximin said 2024 would be a “pivotal year” before Zephyr’s first flight in 2025.

French small launch developer Latitude has secured an impressive $30 million in new capital as it sets its sights on the maiden voyage of its Zephyr rocket in 2025.

While other rocket companies are aiming for bigger feats, patience and innovation are at the core of Latitude’s strategy. In contrast to its competitors’ massive rockets, Latitude is taking a different approach: light, small, and affordable. Its first rocket, Zephyr, will soar at a mere 62 feet and boast a payload capacity of 100 kilograms to low Earth orbit. To put that into perspective, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 can carry a whopping 22,800 kilograms to LEO. The two-stage rocket will be fueled by eight revolutionary 3D-printed engines called Navier, which Latitude is developing in-house.

In a statement, Latitude CEO and cofounder Stanislas Maximin reveals that 2024 will be a pivotal year for the company, leading up to Zephyr’s first flight in 2025.

The company is looking ahead and plans to utilize the new funding to develop its next iteration of Zephyr, which will be slightly larger and able to carry 200 kilograms of payload by 2028. Additionally, Latitude announced in a press release that the funds will also go towards establishing a new assembly line, producing its first launcher, conducting more testing, and strengthening its team of 100-plus employees.

Latitude’s current investors including Crédit Mutuel Innovation, Expansion, Bpifrance via DeepTech 2030, Blast.club, Kima Ventures, and unnamed individual investors have contributed to the recent round of funding, bringing the company’s total raised so far to nearly $55 million.

As a part of the growing European launch startup community, Latitude aims to promote and enhance the continent’s own launch capabilities, which have been suffering from lingering delays to next-generation rockets like Arianespace’s Ariane 6. Charles Beigbeder, a European VC with Expansion, emphasized this need in a statement, stating that “Europe must regain full sovereignty over space launchers.”

The French government has also taken steps to support a native space industry, from which Latitude is already benefitting. The country’s DeepTech 2030 fund plans to invest over 50 billion euros in boosting France’s deep tech ecosystem.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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