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Exolaunch Looks to Boost Business and Policy Presence With New US Offices 

By Rachel Jewett | October 19, 2021

Right: Chris Hearsey, CEO of Exolaunch USA. Left: Kier Fortier, director of Launch for Exolaunch USA. Photos: Exolaunch

German rideshare provider Exolaunch is expanding its business presence in the United States, by opening offices in Washington, D.C., and Denver, Colorado, and hiring Chris Hearsey as CEO of subsidiary Exolaunch USA

The Tuesday announcement comes about a year after Exolaunch first said it planned to expand with a U.S. subsidiary after signing a long-term rideshare launch agreement with SpaceX.

Hearsey told Via Satellite that supporting U.S. customers is crucial for Exolaunch’s future growth. The company has supported U.S. customers like Loft Orbital, Spire Global, and Kepler Communications and taken part in previous SpaceX rideshare missions. For 2022, Hearsey said Exolaunch plans to increase its cadence to support more than five rideshare flights launching more than 100 smallsats. 

Kier Fortier, director of Launch for Exolaunch USA, has been leading sales developments and partnerships. He will continue this work in Colorado which will be the U.S. headquarters office. 

Hearsey will lead policy, industry outreach, and government affairs in Washington. Hearsey previously worked at Bigelow Aerospace as corporate counsel and director of the Washington office, and then founded consulting firm OSA Consulting. He said he will add Exolaunch’s voice to conversations in Washington around responsible space behavior, sustainability, and debris mitigation.  

“It’s important for companies that are engaged in this type of market to be conscious of the environment in which they’re in. There’s no reason for us to send up things that are going to eventually foreclose our ability to close our business case,” Hearsey said. “It’s important for us to be effective, not only in proffering good solutions to be responsible space actors, but finding workable solutions that fit within the entire industry so we don’t destroy all of our business models.”

This expansion is coming at a time of rapid growth for the company. This year, Exolaunch doubled sales globally compared to last year. Looking ahead to 2022, Fortier told Via Satellite that about half of the company’s customers are based in the U.S., and half are international. Exolaunch is seeing increased demand due to lower rideshare price, and maturing smallsat business cases. 

“A lot of this increased demand is due to space becoming more accessible due to lower prices from the SpaceX rideshare program. That’s opening up access for commercial, academic, and government organizations,” Fortier said. “We have a lot of existing customers who maybe a few years ago launched their first tech demonstration mission of  one or two smaller satellites to prove out their technology. But now that that technology has been demonstrated, they’re rolling out a greater number of satellites.”