Innospace shares tumble in stock market debut

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul2,2024

WASHINGTON — South Korean launch vehicle startup Innospace saw its shares fall by more than 20% in its first day of trading as a public company July 2.

Shares in Innospace closed July 2 at 34,450 won ($24.80), a decline of 20.4% from its initial public offering (IPO) price, on South Korea’s KOSDAQ exchange. The closing price gives the company a market capitalization of 323 billion won.

Innosapce said in June it saw strong interest in its IPO, leading it to price shares at 43,300 won, the high end of the range it offered to investors. The offering raised 57.6 billion won for the company.

“By successfully entering the KOSDAQ market today, we have set a new milestone as the first listed private space launch vehicle company in Korea,” Soojong Kim, chief executive of Innospace, said in a statement. “Innospace is committed to accelerating the development of our launch vehicles to achieve early market entry and providing stable, customized launch services, ultimately growing into a competitive player in the global space market.”

Innospace has yet to attempt an orbital launch. The company did conduct what it called a successful suborbital launch from Brazil’s Alcântara Space Center in March 2023. The company did not disclose the peak altitude of its Hanbit-TLV rocket in that flight but stated before the launch the goal was to reach 80 kilometers.

That vehicle was designed to test technologies for a line of small launch vehicles Innospace plans to develop. The Hanbit-Nano is designed to place up to 90 kilograms into a sun-synchronous orbit while the Hanbit-Micro would place 170 kilograms into the same orbit. A future Hanbit-Mini is proposed to place 1,300 kilograms into a sun-synchronous orbit.

A first launch of Hanbit-Nano is scheduled for as soon as the first half of 2025, according to a May 30 announcement by Innospace that it would launch smallsats developed by two Brazilian organizations on a rideshare mission launching from Alcântara. Innospace also announced contracts June 26 with an Italian startup, CShark, to launch 35 satellites on missions between 2025 and 2027 and with a Thai startup, EOS Orbit, for one satellite launching in 2025.

A distinctive feature of Innospace’s vehicles is the use of hybrid engines, which combine a solid fuel, in this case paraffin, with liquid oxygen. Hybrid engines have long been touted as combining the benefits of solid- and liquid-propellant engines, but in practice have found limited use. Innospace is also developing a liquid-propellant engine, using methane and liquid oxygen, for use on upper stages of some of its vehicles.

Those vehicles would launch from Alcântara as well as Australia’s Arnhem Space Centre, the latter under an August 2023 agreement with that spaceport’s operator, Equatorial Launch Australia. Innospace said it is also interested in launching from the Andøya Space Center in Norway.

Innospace said the funding it raised from the IPO would go towards expanding vehicle production and work on incorporating reusability into its vehicles, as well as hiring more employees.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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