Stoke Space, the American startup, is making formidable strides in the space industry with its sole focus on creating 100% reusable rockets. Taking off in 2019, under the leadership of former Blue Origin engineer, Andy Lapsa, the company has been making an impressive mark.
Reusable Rockets: An Innovative Approach
Stoke Space is currently working on a two-stage, completely reusable rocket that requires minimal maintenance following launches. Despite facing numerous technical hurdles, the company has taken a bold approach in designing its upper stage. Drawing inspiration from nature, Stoke Space's unique upper stage has a bell or droplet shape.
The upper stage is designed to re-enter the atmosphere with the base first. It carries payloads in the upper section and uses adjustable thrust levels for both orbit injection and return, as well as landing. These design features are being extensively tested at Moses Lake near Seattle. The test results have varied, with a wide range of success.
Nova Rocket: Stoke Space’s Vision for the Future
Stoke Space's Nova rocket boasts of a payload capacity of 5 tons to low Earth orbit. Moreover, the company aims to achieve daily reusability with this rocket. Despite the rocket not being ready for a 2024 launch, Stoke Space is not sitting idle. The company is continuing its testing efforts, especially concentrating on the first-stage engine section that includes 7 reusable engines fuelled by methane and liquid oxygen.
Competitive Landscape and Investment
Stoke Space is competing against other formidable players in the industry such as Relativity Space, Rocket Lab, and SpaceX. However, the race to develop a reusable upper stage is still in full swing. Apart from tackling competition, the company has successfully attracted significant investment. Stoke Space secured million in 2021, a significant increase to million in 2022, and an astonishing million in 2023.
Expansion and Future Prospects
These sizable investments have facilitated the expansion of Stoke Space's facilities in Kent. They have also enabled the company to continue attracting and recruiting creative and skilled individuals. Considering their swift progress, industry experts are keeping a close watch on Stoke Space. There is high anticipation that Stoke Space could become a prominent player in the reusable rockets sector in 2024.