If it’s good enough for Jeff and Elon, it must be good enough for the fine folks at Porsche, right? The German automaker has become the latest company to take steps in a spaceward direction, having dropped the princely sum of $75 million (a little over R1 billion) on a German aerospace startup, reports the Financial Times.
The company made the investment, along with several other companies, in Isar Aerospace in order to get it off the ground — figuratively and literally. The startup aims to provide low-earth orbit satellite launch services to its customers, putting it in competition with both SpaceX and Blue Origin.
Will Porsche make it go faster?
Isar Aerospace is building its own rocket hardware — the Spectrum, a two-stage launch vehicle currently being manufactured by the company. It’ll top out at a 1,000 kilogram payload sent to low-Earth orbit (LEO) and 700kg to a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). It’s relatively small, measuring just 27 metres (which is tiny compared to SpaceX’s 70 metre Falcon boosters), but Porsche — and the other investors — obviously think that it’ll get the job done.
But, beyond the cash injection, it’s unlikely that the auto-maker will have much influence over Isar’s direction and development, but it might have somewhat selfish reasons for investing: internal development advances. Porsche’s Lutz Meschke said, “We are convinced that cost-effective and flexible access to space will be a key enabler for innovations in traditional industries as well as for new and disruptive technologies and business models.”
And who knows, one day we might see the company pull an Audi and develop a vehicle based on its most iconic designs for use on the moon. Yes, the Audi Lunar Quattro is apparently still a thing, though we haven’t yet seen which mission will dispatch it to the lunar surface. A manned Artemis mission, perhaps? Once Lockheed and GM have done their thing, obviously.