Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Co-founded by a leader of SpaceX’s missions operations, Epsilon3 wants to be the OS for space launches – TechCrunch

Laura Crabtree spent a good chunk of her childhood watching rocket launches on television and her entire professional career-launching rockets, first at Northrup Grumman and then at SpaceX. The former senior missions operations engineer at SpaceX is the co-founder and chief executive of a new LA-based space startup called Epsilon3, which says it has developed the operating system for launch operations.

“The tools I had wanted to do not exist,” said Crabtree. So when she left SpaceX to pursue her next opportunity, it was a no-brainer to try to develop the toolkit she never had, the first-time entrepreneur said. “I started looking at ways in which I could help the space industry become more efficient and reduce errors.”

Joining Crabtree in the new business is Max Mednik, a serial entrepreneur whose last company, Epirus, raised at least $144.7 million from investors, including 8VC, Bedrock Capital, and L3 Harris Technologies, and Aaron Sullivan, a former Googler. He serves as the chief software engineer. Mednik worked at Google, too, before turning his attention to entrepreneurship. His previous businesses ranged from financial services software to legal services software, but Mednik was also interested in aerospace. His first job offers out of school were with SpaceX, JPL, and Google.

Part of a growing network of SpaceX alumni launching businesses, Epsilon3, like its fellow travelers First Resonance and Prewitt Ridge, is creating a product around an aspect of the design, manufacturing mission management, and operations of rockets that had previously been handled manually or with bespoke tools.

“They make mission management software for the launchers and for the satellite companies that are going to be the payload of the rocket companies,” said Alex Rubalcava, the founder, and managing partner of Stage Venture Partners, an investor in the company’s recent seed round. “It’s not just the design and spec but for when they’re actually working what are they doing; when you’re uplinking and downlinking data and changing software.

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