Altius Space Machines Displays MIDAS Touch with Deep Space CubeSats

altiusBy Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected Jon Goff’s Altius Space Machines for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)  grant to develop an aerobraking and aerocapture system using an electromagnetic coil that would allow CubeSats to explore other planets and their moons.

The project, which is being done in cooperation with MSNW LLC of Redmond, Wash., involves technology that can be scaled up for larger robotic and human missions to Mars and other worlds. The electromagnetic systems would allow for significant mass savings in the size of the spacecraft.

Altius’ work focuses on the Multi-Purpose Interplanetary Deployable Aerocapture System (MIDAS), which could be packaged into 6U CubeSats sent to Mars, Venus, or Jupiter’s moon Europa.


NASA Eyes Sending CubeSats into Deep Space


By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

So far, CubeSats have been used exclusively in Earth orbit. But, imagine a fleet of these tiny spacecraft fanning out to the moon and other deep-space destinations.

That’s what NASA has in mind. The space agency has just committed about $1.1 million to fund nine research projects that address different deep-space cubesat technologies. The funding is part of the NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Select Phase 1 grants announced earlier this week.


This Week on The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, March 11, 2013: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome the return of DAVID HOOK to discuss updates with aviation security and the new General Aviation Security Magazine.

2. Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome MARK WHITTINGTON back to the show to discuss the current state of affairs regarding space and his new space related novella available on Amazon, “Dreams of Barry’s Stepfather.”

3. Thursday, March 14, 2013:, 9:30-10:30 AM PDT (12:30-1:30 PM EDT, 11;30 AM-12:30 PM CDT). We welcome JANET STEVENS of the Space Foundation to discuss the upcoming National Space Symposium

4. Friday, March 15, 2013, 9:30-11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT, 11:30AM-1PM CDT): We welcome back JON GOFF of Altius for company updates plus a discussion of his lunar patent idea.

5. Sunday, March 17, 2013, 12-1:30 PM PDT, 3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT. We welcome back DR. JIM WERTZ to continue the discussion regarding reducing space mission costs. Dr. Wertz will also discuss what seems to work and not to work based on practical experiences.

Altius Space Machines Wins Contract to Develop Touch-to-Grasp Gripper with JPL

Louisville, CO September 19, 2012 (Altius PR) — Altius Space Machines is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of Pasadena, CA. to provide engineering services as part of the DARPA Phoenix Program. The goal of the DARPA Phoenix Program is to develop and demonstrate technologies to cooperatively repurpose valuable components from retired, nonworking satellites and demonstrate the ability to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost.

Altius Space Machines will work with JPL to develop a Gecko Gripper Touch-to-Grasp tool incorporating JPL’s synthetic Gecko adhesive technology that mimics the ability of Gecko lizards to adhere to walls. This effort will leverage previous work done by Altius on uncooperative capture mechanisms.

About Altius Space Machines, Inc.

Altius Space Machines is a Louisville, Colorado based space technology company founded with the goal of reducing barriers to space commerce. Altius is currently developing rendezvous and docking solutions using its Sticky BoomTM non-cooperative capture technology, for space stations and propellant depots, manned spaceflight, satellite servicing, and other applications. For more information visit

Altius Signs Space Act Agreement with NASA Langley

Louisville, CO, September 4, 2012 (Altius PR) — Altius Space Machines of Louisville, CO is pleased to announce that we have signed a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA Langley Research Center of Hampton, Va., to develop concepts for a new series of compactly-stowable, long-reach spacecraft robotic manipulators.

Altius Space Machines Wins DARPA ZombieSat Contract

Phoenix satellite concept. (Credit: DARPA)

Louisville, CO, July 30th, 2012 (Altius PR) — Altius Space Machines of Louisville, CO is delighted to announce that we have signed a contract with DARPA to provide engineering services as part of the DARPA Phoenix Program. Associated with Altius Space Machines in this contract is ROCCOR LLC. of Louisville, CO., Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation of Pasadena, CA, and The University of Colorado at Boulder, CO.


Altius Space Machines Gets Seed Funding From Orrery Group

Bellevue, Washington – May 23, 2011 – Space Angels Network, LLC, a national network of seed‐ and early‐stage investors focused on aerospace‐related ventures, today announced that Richard M. David, a Space Angels Network member and managing member of the Orrery Group, LLC, led a seed‐stage investment in Altius Space Machines (ASM) of Louisville, Colorado. The investment corresponds with ASM’s successful testing of its “Sticky Boom” electro‐adhesive rendezvous and capture technology on a microgravity flight provided by the Zero Gravity Corporation on May 14, 2011. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.


Altius Space Machines Snags Investment

Congratulations are in order for Jon Goff. His start-up, Altius Space Machines, has snagged a round of investment.

Joe Landon of the Space Angels Network made an announcement about the funding during a presentation this morning at the International Space Development Conference in Huntsville. The group helps connect entrepreneurs with investors who fund early-stage start-ups.

Details of the investment are set to be announced shortly in a press release.

Goff founded Altius after leaving Masten Space Systems. The company is working on “sticky boom,” which is a new system for rendezvous and docking in space that can be used for Mars sample return missions, orbital debris removal, and other activities. NASA awarded Altius a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to develop the technology.

Video: Micro-G Test of “Sticky Boom” Docking Tech

Video Caption: This video is the first Zero-G flight test of Altius Space Machine’s Electroadhesive “Sticky Boom” rendezvous and docking technology. This test was carried out by Altius engineer Mike Judson and Altius CEO Jonathan Goff on May 14th 2011, on a parabolic aircraft flight run by the Zero Gravity Corporation.


Space Access ’11: Altius Space’s Jon Goff

Jon Goff
Altius Space Machines


  • Founding member of Masten Space Systems
  • Branched out on his own last year
  • Aimed at profitably developing key space technologies
  • Bootstrapping via contract engineering, but standing-up a products focused company


Goff’s Altius Space Machines Snags NASA SBIR Award for Mars Sample Return System

NASA recently announced that it would be conducting contract negotiations for 350 projects under its SBIR and STTR programs, which are aimed at promoting space technology development by small businesses. Parabolic Arc will be looking at a number of the proposals involving NewSpace companies that it regularly covers or which encompass interesting technologies.

This post looks at Altius Space Machines, a new startup from Jon Goff who is late of Masten Space Systems. Goff’s Colorado-based company is working on a system to assist NASA with its Mars Sample Return mission.