Laura Crabtree spent a good chunk of her childhood watchingon 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 the operating system for launch operations. “The tools I wanted do not exist,” said Crabtree. So when she left SpaceX to pursue her next opportunity, it was a no-brainer to try to 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, software engineer. His previous businesses ranged from financial to legal services software, but Mednik was also interested in aerospace. His first job offers from school were with SpaceX, JPL, and Google. Mednik worked at Google, too, before turning his attention to entrepreneurship.from investors, including 8VC, Bedrock Capital, and L3 Harris Technologies Aaron Sullivan, a former Googler. He serves as the chief
Part of a growing network of SpaceX alums 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 Partners, an investor in the company’s recent seed round. “It’s not just the design and spec but for when they’re what are they doing; when you’re uplinking and downlinking data and changing software.”
Rubalcava acknowledged that the market for Epsilon3 is entirely new, but it’s increasing. “This was an analysis based on the fact that access to space used to be expensive and used to be the provenance of governments and 10 or 20 commercialworldwide. And it was limited by the fact that only a handful of companies could launch,” Rubalcava said. “Now, all of a sudden, there will be 30 different space flights. Thirty companies with used to be scarce, expensive, and highly restricted, and it’s no longer any of those things now.”
The demand for space services is exploding, with some analysts estimating that the operating system for launch operations. “You’ve got design development, manufacturing, integration tests, and operations. We’re trying to support that integration of tests and operations,” said Crabtree.industry could reach over $18 billion by 2026. “It’s a very similar story, and we all come from different places within SpaceX,” said Crabtree. First Resonance provides software that moves from prototyping to production; Prewitt Ridge includes engineering and management tools, and Epsilon3 has developed an
While First Resonance and Prewitt Ridge broadly have applications in aerospace and manufacturing, Crabtree’s eyes and her company’s mission remain fixed on the stars. “We’re laser-focused on space and proving that the softwareMednik. There are applications in other areas that broadly require complex workflows for industries as diverse as construction and operations, energy, mining, and aviation. Still, it’s all about the space business for now and the .
Mednik described the software as an electronic toolkit for controlling and editing workflows and procedures. “You can think of it as Asana project management subsystems or systems and operations of the systems.” Named for the planet in “Babylon 5,” Epsilon3 could become an integral part of the rocket missions that eventually do explore other worlds. At least, that’s the bet that firms like Stage Venture Partners and MaC Ventures are making with their early $1.8 .. “It should be for integrating
Epislon3’s early customers are from early-stage space companies that use the operating systems in general and thinking that there would be some good ones coming along,” Fenty said. In Epsilon3, the company found the combination of deep space, deep tech, and a thesis around developing verticalized operating systems that ticked all the boxes. “In doing diligence for the company… you just like a business,” said Michael Palank, a co-founder and managing partner at MaC Ventures predecessor, M Ventures, alongside Fenty. “Many of the challenges here on Earth will and only can be in space. And you need better-operating systems to manage to get to and from space.”launches. These would be entrants. “For us, space and are hot,” said Mac Ventures co-founder and managing partner Adrian Fenty. The former mayor of Washington noted the combination of Mednik’s serial entrepreneur status and Crabtree’s deep expertise in the field. “We had been looking at