Startup Plans Fuel Depots in Orbit for Satellite Servicing

Credit: Orbital Fab

Space News reports that a company run by the former CEO of Deep Space Industries plans to develop orbiting fuel depots.

Orbit Fab, a Silicon Valley-based company with about a dozen employees, said Aug. 28 that a round of funding led by venture capital firm Bolt will enable it to demonstrate technology for fuel tanks that could be used by future satellite servicing systems.

“We differentiate ourselves from the satellite servicing operators in that we’re looking to put up just dumb tanks full of propellant, to provide that propellant where it’s needed, and we’re looking to partner with the satellite servicing operators to help improve their business models,” said Daniel Faber, chief executive of Orbit Fab, in an interview.

Faber said Orbit Fab will work with companies developing satellite servicing systems rather than create its own. “We’ve seen that the satellite servicing operators have a lot on their plates standing up their businesses, so they can’t take on the extra risk of standing up a gas station business,” he said. “We decided we would take that part.”

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That initial mission, scheduled for launch next year, will be done in collaboration with NASA. Faber said the agency is providing “in-kind support,” with additional details to be released in the coming weeks.