WASHINGTON — A little-known Korean startup backed by Samsung is preparing to launch a small orbital rocket in July.
Perigee Aerospace of Daejeong, South Korea, has raised around $12 million from Samsung Venture Investments, LB Investment and others to develop Blue Whale 1, a small launcher capable of carrying 50 kilograms to a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit, CEO Yoon Shin said in an interview.
Shin said Perigee Aerospace has had sufficient funding to develop the very small rocket, allowing the company to operate in stealth mode until getting within a year of launch.
“Up to now, we didn’t feel any need to announce our development plans or launch vehicle operations plans,” Shin said at the 70th International Astronautical Congress here Oct. 21. “But I think it’s a great time because we have now almost completed the development of the vehicle.”
Samsung Ventures Investment Director Chulhan Lee, told SpaceNews Oct. 22 by email that the cellphone giant invested an undisclosed amount in Perigee Aerospace.
Perigee Aerospace’s core team came together in 2012 and formally established the company just last year, but is leveraging “decades” of engine development from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Shin said. ...