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Startup Epislon3 hopes to expand Pentagon reach with launch ‘software service’

Operators at Vaya Space using Epsilon3’s space vehicle testing software on their tablets. (Photo: Epsilon3)

WASHINGTON: Los Angeles startup Epsilon3 recently nabbed its first subscription from the Space Force for its launch management software, but the tiny firm is already pitching other applications for military and government users — with company officials saying their kit bag of software tools can be used for a number of complex missions with multiple moving parts.

“The majority of our customer base is commercial. But we do have one prime contract already with the Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 in Cape Canaveral. They’re paying for and using our software for launch operations,” Max Mednik, co-founder of the 18-month-old company, told Breaking Defense.

Mednik spoke in an interview June 24, along with another of the three Epsilon3 co-founders, Laura Crabtree.

“We are small and our bandwidth is somewhat limited, so we’ve been mostly focused on commercial. But long term, we’re very excited to pursue and support a lot more customers in the government. There are a lot of use cases within Space Force and Air Force very clearly, because the product is very useful for those things,” he added.

Headquartered at Patrick SFB in Florida, Delta 45 is responsible for managing the Eastern Launch Range — including everything from the launches themselves to communications to the financial books.

Mednik said Delta 45 earlier this spring signed up for a year subscription, which includes annual follow-on 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 newbie on the space launch scene was the initial impetus behind the startup, explained Crabtree, who once worked for SpaceX.

“The format was designed for space operations,” she said, both “in the case of a launch vehicle, or whether they’re already in space” with the goal of “developing a platform to increase efficiency, and collaboration and coordinate amongst the members that are operating vehicles in space. Since then, it has expanded into adjacent industries.”

Further, Crabtree said, Epsilon3’s software now also has been optimized for use in pre-launch operations such as testing and integration.

“When we think about, like, the lifecycle of a project, you’ve got design, then you’ve got manufacturing, then you’ve got integration and tests, then you’ve got operations. And we were designed for that operations phase,” she elaborated. “But what we found is that people really liked the platform for earlier than operations. So, when they’re getting into building hardware, when they’re getting into testing hardware, they like to have the same platform for all of those different pieces of the program lifecycle.”

The firm now has about 40 customers, Crabtree noted, including other space startups but also bigger launch firms. Epsilon recently completed its Series A funding round, raising $15 million.

“Our primary investor was Lux Capital,” she said. “They’re heavy in defense and space, and a lot of kind of our ideal customers, and so they have a really good, deep knowledge of the space industry and can really be very supportive. So, we’re very happy to be partnered with them in this arena.”

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