As bluShift closes in on $1M in crowdfunding, design advances on suborbital rocket

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As engineers with bluShift Aerospace receive and fit components this month for a full-scale suborbital rocket engine, the Brunswick rocket maker is looking to close out its equity crowdfunding campaign with over 800 investors onboard and almost $1 million raised.

On Friday the company announced the campaign had hit those milestones. Fundraising is scheduled to close on Sept. 6. 

BluShift launched a prototype rocket, called Stardust 1.0, in January from the former Loring Air Force Base, now the Loring Commerce Centre, in Limestone.

On March 25, bluShift launched the crowdfunding campaign through the platform Wefunder to raise $1.07 million by allowing small investors to take an equity stake in the company.

Suborbital engine

The announcement comes as bluShift advances with the design of its full-sized commercial suborbital rocket, Starless Rogue, which is expected to launch in 2022 using the company’s proprietary fuel. 

The company is also narrowing in on a launch site off the Downeast coast of Maine, according to a news release.

“It’s been a tremendous couple of months for bluShift as the engineering staff have been fitting components for our next rocket engine and as our crowdfunding campaign nears its goal,” Sascha Deri, CEO and founder of bluShift Aerospace, said in the release. 

The first engine test is expected to occur next month. The full-scale engine is designed to generate between 16,000 and 20,000 pounds of thrust using 100% bio-derived fuel. When completed, it will be capable of propelling 66-pound payloads to space on a flight path allowing for up to eight minutes in microgravity.

Crowdfunding

In the months since launching the campaign, bluShift has forged partnerships with MaxIQ Space, a Virginia-based STEM company that facilitates the delivery of programs into space for academic customers, and Theorem LLC, a Los Angeles-based global enterprise engineering firm.

BluShift also expanded its network of professional advisors and investors, including the addition of a former astronaut and startup veteran, Travis Brodeen. 

Brodeen is the founder of MVP Institute, a fundraising and early stage business consultancy in Austin, Texas.

“Crowdfunding is all about market validation,” said Brodeen. “The bluShift investors have been ‘onboard’ since the early stages, due to the huge impact of the company’s live broadcasts. The live experience allowed aerospace enthusiasts an opportunity to follow along the journey every step of the way and it has resulted in a huge amount of financial support for their vision.”

Deri said the company’s growth has been a result of commitments from investors.

The five-month campaign provided investors with future equity in the company. The campaign funded the company’s growth as it moved into a new and bigger location at Brunswick Landing, doubled its engineering staff, and finalized the design of its next rocket.

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