France hopes to have its own mini-launchers by 2026. HyPrSpace – for “Hybrid Propulsion for Space” – could achieve this with a small advance. The startup, founded in 2019 by three engineers, Alexandre Mangeot, Sylvain Bataillard and Vincent Rocher, is already in the testing phase of its micro-launchers and aims a first suborbital flight in 2024and one orbital flight in 2025when it has reached sufficient velocity to remain in orbit.
Presented as “French Space X” in the press, HyPrSpace hopes to market within three years reusable micro-launchers capable of putting small satellites into orbit with a payload of up to 250 kg. Many customers could be seduced, such as telecom operatorsbut also NGO and public actors which could, for example, use it to detect rogue ships responsible for off-gassing at sea or illegal fishing. “The applications are very different”, assures Alexandre Mangeot, CEO and co-founder of HyPrSpace.
A patented technology
Dozens of French startups are currently working on micro-launchers, but HyPrSpace hopes to make a difference thanks to its patented technology: hybrid propulsion. A truly ground-breaking innovation that combines fixed propulsion and floating propulsion to design more cost-effective and reusable engines. The technology is patented and its patent is being extended internationally.
“We are the only ones, with a handful of other competitors in the world, who are interested in this technology. And our approach is unique. In comparison with the 200 other micro-launcher projects in the world, we are therefore marginal,” summarizes Alexandre Mangeot.
Winner of the France 2030 call for projects
A difference that has already seduced France. HyPrSpace is actually one of the first winners of the France 2030 “Development of mini- and micro-launchers” call for projects. Endowed with 54 billion euros over five years, the France 2030 plan aims to develop the country’s industrial competitiveness and future technologies. Several sectors of activity are affected, including rooms with a envelope of 1.5 billion euros.
“When we started working on our micro-launcher from our garden in 2017, two years before we officially created our company, we called for such an initiative. Today we are there”, welcomes Alexandre Mangeot.
Thanks to France 2030, HyPrSpace has received a boost of around half a million extra euros. “Micro-launchers represent a major challenge for the country, which houses the equivalent of several billion euros of space, defense or civil infrastructure that is likely to be attacked, recalls the CEO of HyPrSpace. Having a reactive launch capability in space is therefore a critical goal.”
And Alexandre Mangeot is convinced of it: The solution comes fromstartup ecosystem. “Space costs far too much for large, well-established industrial structures to take the risk of jumping into the race for breakthrough innovation,” he analyzes. It is up to young shoots to take over.
But for that you need funds. Lots of funds. The 80,000 euros in love money, collected at the very beginning of the HyPrSpace adventure, as well as the 2 million collected in seeds from the Geodesic fund, the French Tech Seed fund managed by Bpifrance, the NACO fund from the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and ‘ other investors will not be enough.
To go from seed to industrialization, the Bordeaux start-up must find new financing through fundraising and bank loans. “Some additional 30 million euros will be needed to reach the first orbital flight, and 20 to 30 million more to proceed to marketing,” estimates the manager.