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Data Centers Could Soon Reach The Moon As Lunar Firm Raises $5M, Plans 2023 Test Mission


As investors search for the next frontier in data center development, some are looking to the sky. 

Lonestar Data Holdings has raised a $5M seed round that will help it place a series of small data centers on the moon's surface by the end of the year, the company announced Monday. The Florida-based startup plans to launch its first processing unit to the moon in June, with a second payload delivery expected by the end of the year. 

"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," Brad Harrison, managing partner of Scout Ventures, a venture capital firm that led the $5M round raised by Lonestar, said in a statement. "Data security and storage will be a necessary part of leading the new generation of lunar exploration."

The proof-of-concept processing unit Lonestar intends to launch in June is a solar-powered micro data center the size of a hardcover book. The company says multiple larger units will follow soon after.

The digital equipment will be part of the payload of a lander heading to the lunar south pole region operated by private spaceflight company Intuitive Machines, a partnership with NASA through its Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. Intuitive said it purchased a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to accommodate the mission.

While CLPS is part of NASA’s Artemis program that aims to establish the infrastructure for a more permanent human presence on the moon, Lonestar’s initial business proposition is more terrestrial in nature: providing disaster recovery as a service for Earth-based clients. Indeed, Lonestar founder and CEO Christopher Stott said last spring that he envisions lunar data centers, perhaps located in lava tubes, as a sort of “seed vault” for all of human knowledge. 

While some experts have expressed doubts to Bisnow in the past about the economic viability of locating disaster recovery workloads on the lunar surface, Lonestar’s leadership and its financial backers say its lunar processing capacity will also eventually be used to support an array of lunar missions, such as those planned through the Artemis program. 

Lonestar’s new funding is the latest development in an emerging digital space race. As Bisnow has previously reported, the U.S., the European Union and China are allocating growing resources to building out data processing and other digital infrastructure needed to support sustained human presence on the lunar surface. At the same time, a growing number of private companies is looking to launch small data centers into orbit to provide processing power for the growing flood of data from satellites due to the emergence of commercial spaceflight. 

Related Topics: NASA, SpaceX, Intuitive Machines