WASHINGTON: Los Angeles startup Epsilon3 recently got its first subscription from the Space Force for its launch management software, but the small company iThere’s already other uses for military and government users — with corporate officials saying their kit bag of software tools can be used for some complex missions with multiple moving parts.
“The majority of our customer base is commercial. But we already have one main contract with the Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 in Cape Canaveral. They pay for and use our software for launch operations,” Max Mednik, co-founder of the 18-month-old company, told Breaking Defense.
Mednik spoke in an interview on June 24, along with another of Epsilon3’s three co-founders, Laura Crabtree.
“We’re small and our bandwidth is a bit limited, so we’ve focused mainly on commercial. But in the long run, we are very excited to pursue and support many more customers in government. There are very clearly many use cases within Space Force and Air Force as the product is very useful for those things,” he added.
Delta 45, headquartered at Patrick SFB in Florida, is responsible for managing the Eastern Launch Range — including everything from the launches themselves to communications to the financial books.
Mednik said Delta 45 had signed up for an annual subscription earlier this spring, including annual follow-up options, to help it automate and keep track of the many complicated ground station processes involved in launching a satellite.
Creating easy-to-use launch and spacecraft management software tools that would be available to even the newest entrant to the space launch scene was the initial impetus for the startup, explains Crabtree, who once worked for SpaceX.
“The format is designed for space operations,” she said, both “in the case of a launch vehicle, or whether they are already in space” with the aim of “developing a platform to increase efficiency, and enhance cooperation and coordination between the members who drive vehicles in space, and it has since expanded to neighboring industries.”
In addition, Crabtree said, Epsilon3’s software is now also optimized for use in pre-launch operations such as testing and integration.
“If we think about the life cycle of a project, you have design, then you have production, then you have integration and testing, then you have operations. And we are designed for that operational phase,” she explains. “But what we found is that people liked the platform before the operations. So when they start building hardware, when they start testing hardware, they like to have the same platform for all those different parts of the program life cycle.”
The company now has about 40 customers, Crabtree noted, including other aerospace startups as well as larger launch companies. Epsilon recently completed its Series A financing round and raised $15 million.
“Our main investor was Lux Capital,” she said. “They’re heavy in defense and aerospace, and a lot of our ideal clients, and so they have a really good, deep understanding of the aerospace industry and can be really, really supportive. So we’re really happy to be working with them in this arena.”