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October 5, 2022

In $7M deal, bluShift signs Shackleton descendant for unconventional launches

2 people with rocket Courtesy / Lindsay Becker, bluShift Aerospace BluShift Aerospace’s founder and CEO Sascha Deri (left) and Northern Lights Space Exploration’s managing partner Charlton Shackleton at bluShift’s headquarters in Brunswick.

BluShift Aerospace, a new space startup in Brunswick, said today it has struck a deal with another Brunswick firm, Northern Lights Space Exploration LP, for five suborbital launches.

Northern Lights’ founder and managing partner is Charlton Shackleton, an Antarctic explorer, sailor and entrepreneur who is also a descendant of famed Antarctica explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was discovered in March 2022 in the Weddell Sea of Antarctica nearly 107 years after it sank. 

Charlton Shackleton has dedicated his life to advancing opportunities for underrepresented minorities to have equitable access to space, according to a news release.

Shackleton contracted with bluShift for suborbital space launches in the latter’s beta version of its suborbital launch vehicle, called Starless Rogue. 

Northern Lights plans to offer multiple services through the agreement. The first is using a patent-pending method to conduct memorial services in space, where up to 10 kilograms of cremated ashes may be launched to space and dispersed. Additionally, attendees of the memorial service may view the ceremony as a recorded virtual reality experience in virtual reality headsets.

Northern Lights is a space venture specializing in securing launch sites globally and marketing experiences through immersive technologies.

In a signed agreement with bluShift’s CEO, Sascha Deri, Northern Lights committed up to $1.4 million for the use of each launch vehicle, with a total contract value of $7 million. The agreement stipulates use of five of the Starless Rogue beta rockets to launch with an integrated Northern Lights cargo weighing up to 50 pounds. 

In a letter to Deri, Shackleton said, “With a focus on the environment and lowering the impact on Earth being paramount, we are pleased to partner with bluShift Aerospace. Their dedication to engineering next-generation vertical launch vehicles that are planet-friendly was a deciding factor in our selection process.”

Northern Lights today launched a “test team membership” option on its website to attract customers. The membership includes cargo space for prototype launches, expected to be conducted over the next year. 

In September, bluShift said it had reopened a crowd equity fundraising campaign on Wefunder and that it was beginning a series of rapid engine testing to optimize its carbon-neutral, biofuel powered MAREVL rocket engine. Earlier this year, bluShift exceeded its goal in raising $1.07 million in a round of crowd equity fundraising.

In April, the company announced receipt of payment from its first customer, MaxIQ, for suborbital launch services aboard Starless Rogue beta. 

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