Satellite launch vehicle developer ABL Space Systems raised a multimillion dollar series B round, which took its total funding to $420m with a $200m extension to its latest round.

ABL Space Systems, a US-based satellite launch vehicle developer, which counts aerospace and defence manufacturer Lockheed Martin among its backers, expanded its series B round to $370m.  The $200m extension was provided by unnamed existing investors. The round valued ABL at $2.4bn. The original $170m came from participants including investment and financial services group Fidelity and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price in March 2021 at a reported $1.3bn valuation.

Founded in 2017, ABL has developed launch vehicles designed to take small satellites to space at relatively low cost. The company claims to have active contracts with 14 customers across the defence, intelligence, commercial and science sectors. Proceeds from the round will be used to expand production of the company’s RS1 launch vehicle in preparation of its product launch, and support research and development activities.

ABL is part of the broader space and satellite tech space, which has attracted the attention of corporate venture investors over the past few years, as the GCV Analytics chart below illustrates. Over the past three years, there have been roughly 20 corporate-backed deals in this space. By the end of September this year, we had already tracked 21 deals, worth an estimated total of $1.32bn, more than in any previous years, which indicates both increasing interest and a corresponding upward pressure on valuations of such enterprises.