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Lonestar bags $5m in seed funding for lunar datacenter project

That's one small step for upstart, with many, many more to go

A US startup proposing to site datacenters on Earth's Moon has successfully closed its seed funding round, claiming it was oversubscribed.

Lonestar Data Holdings confirmed it secured the $5 million it was seeking for its seed round, and stated that it is scheduled to launch a series of datacenters up to the lunar surface in 2023.

"We are thrilled to have completed this successful seed round and are sincerely grateful for the support and vision of our investors," said Lonestar CEO Chris Stott.

The funding round was led by Scout Ventures and included Seldor Capital, 2 Future Holding, The Veteran Fund, Irongate Capital, Atypical Ventures, and KittyHawk Ventures, the biz said.

Lonestar announced its plans for lunar datacenters last year, as reported by The Register at the time. The idea is that vital data assets can be stored somewhere safe from human activity and other more natural hazards on the Earth by uploading it to a storage facility on the moon’s surface.

Stott compared the startup's project with efforts to preserve all of the world's seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, but with the aim of safeguarding vital human knowledge.

However, Lonestar’s backers seem to have a slightly different view, judging by the canned statement from Scout Ventures' founder and managing partner, Brad Harrison, who said that: "We believe that expanding the world's economy to encompass the Moon, which happens to be the Earth's most stable satellite, is the next whitespace in the New Space Economy.”

Harrison did add that "Data security and storage will be a necessary part of leading the new generation of lunar exploration."

The successful closing of the Seed funding round was hailed by Lonestar as a major milestone to help it accelerate growth and expand its product set.

According to the company, it is now aiming to put the first datacenters onto the Moon's surface in 2023. However, Lonestar was supposed to have tested out its technology by now on a Nova-C lander designed by an outfit called Intuitive Machines.

This launch, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, was originally slated for October 2021, but has been repeatedly delayed and the IM-1 mission is now scheduled for no earlier than June 2023.

Lonestar told us that its first datacenter prototype is scheduled for launch on the follow-up IM-2 mission, currently penciled in for October this year, and it is working towards a full commercial mission in 2025.

The first datacenter payload will be built for Lonestar by space logistics company Skycorp, and will be based on a multi-core RISC-V server design. It will also be based on an 8TB M.2 SSD from Taiwan-based flash storage outfit Phison, which announced in December that the drive had passed the necessary flight qualification tests required to be included in the payload.

Lonestar, which was founded just a few years ago, is not the only organization looking into off-world data storage. Last November, the European Commission announced a feasibility study into putting datacenters into orbit as part of the EU’s wide-ranging Horizon Europe research program. ®

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