Benchmark Space Systems to Acquire AASC’s Metal Plasma Thruster Tech as Part of Hybrid Propulsion Strategy

The Space Economy Gets Major Tech Advancement with Hybrid Mobility Packages

BURLINGTON, Vt., August 8, 2022 (Benchmark Space Systems PR) – With hybrid vehicle sales at an all-time high on Earth, Benchmark Space Systems today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Alameda Applied Sciences Corporation (AASC)’s electric propulsion technologies to help power hybrid spacecraft designed to ultimately run on in-space resources and repurposed space debris.   

Benchmark’s turn-key hybrid chemical + electric propulsion systems will leverage the high thrust capabilities of its non-toxic chemical Halcyon HTP propulsion systems and the precision maneuverability of its Xantus metal plasma thrusters (MPTs), a core part of the newly named electric propulsion technology acquired from AASC.

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SpaceFounders, the Factory of Future Space Champions, Announces Recruitment of 2nd Class of 10 Startups

PARIS (CNES PR) — SpaceFounders, the accelerator for European space startups, whose goal is to identify and support future champions to enable them to become industrial leaders and amplify their impact on the structuring of the space sector, announces the winners of its 2nd promotion.

Services using earth observation data for sustainable development are in the spotlight this year. Space is an essential tool to support the agricultural and urban sectors in their necessary transition and to observe and prevent the impact of climate change. Space propulsion is another key theme of this second promotion, demonstrating the interest of the market for systems allowing maneuvers in orbit with an ever higher performance/cost ratio. The other topics covered are those of on-board artificial intelligence for autonomous systems in orbit, telecommunications and the Internet of Things by satellite.

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Small Spacecraft Electric Propulsion Opens New Deep Space Opportunities

An image of Northrop Grumman’s small electric propulsion thruster first light during testing at NASA Glenn Research Center’s Electric Power and Propulsion Laboratory. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)

CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — The path to the Moon, Mars, and beyond will require a fleet of spacecraft in many different shapes and sizes, including everything from massive rockets that produce millions of pounds of thrust to pioneering small electric propulsion thrusters that fit in the palm of your hand.

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OHB Luxspace Inks Contract with Exotrail for ExoMG™ Electric Propulsion System Onboard Triton-X Heavy Platform

ExoMG Cluster2 (Credit: ExoTrail)

MASSY, France (Exotrail PR) — Exotrail signed a contract with Luxembourg-based satellite manufacturer OHB Luxspace for a co-engineering phase aiming the further integration of ExoMG™ – cluster², a configuration of Exotrail’s high thrust and flexible electric propulsion product family, into the Triton-X Heavy platform.

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Morpheus Space Launches New Ecosystem ‘SPHERE’ and Proprietary Propellant

Integrated Ecosystem Lowers Barriers to Entry into the New Space Industry, Helps Drive Exponential Growth

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 11, 2021 (Morpheus Space PR) — Morpheus Space, leading provider of spacecraft electric propulsion systems, today announced the launch of the SPHERE ecosystem,  as well as a new proprietary propellant and rebrand. A first-of-its-kind ecosystem, SPHERE was created to power end-to-end autonomous constellation operations. 

A natural extension of the devices and systems that brought Morpheus Space to market in 2018, SPHERE will act as a command center for all things propulsion. As the company evolves from a propulsion system manufacturer into an overarching space mobility provider, the team is seeking to lower the barriers of entry into the space industry through its unique pricing model and cutting-edge tech integration. The following products and features have been integrated into Morpheus’ platform to make up the SPHERE ecosystem and provide customers with a seamless experience:

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Astra’s Apollo Fusion Thruster Ignites on First Attempt in Orbit with Spaceflight

A complete ACE Max thruster unit being tested. (Credit: Apollo Fusion)

Ignition demonstrates technology-proven and cost-effective electric propulsion (EP) system 

ALAMEDA, Calif., August 24, 2021 (Astra Space/Spaceflight Inc. PR) — Astra Space, Inc. (“Astra”) (Nasdaq: ASTR), today announced the successful orbital ignition of its Apollo Fusion thruster on board the Spaceflight Sherpa-LTE1 orbital transfer vehicle (OTV). The Sherpa OTV launched June 30 from SpaceX’s Transporter-2 mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida. After successfully deploying all rideshare payloads, Spaceflight commissioned the Apollo Fusion thruster, representing Astra’s first attempt at firing the thruster in orbit, marking a significant technical milestone.  

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Astra Acquires Apollo Fusion

ALAMEDA, Calif. (Astra PR) — Today, we announced that Astra will acquire Apollo Fusion. This acquisition enables Astra to efficiently deliver and operate throughout our solar system, and brings incredible technology and talent into our team.

So, what is this all really about? At Astra we’re focused on rapid and affordable access to space. This really requires two kinds of transportation: You always have to first fly from Earth to a low orbit on the edge of space, and Astra shines in getting you to the best possible low orbit for your mission. However, often you need to keep going — to fly higher in space for your operational mission. And this is where Apollo comes in.

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Firefly Research Receives NASA SBIR Award for Solar Electric Space Unity Vehicle

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected the research arm of Firefly Aerospace for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to develop a solar electric transfer stage capable of taking payloads from the Earth to the moon.

“Firefly Research, LLC (FFR) is pleased to propose to NASA the development of a Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) to a CDR [critical design review] level of fidelity,” the technical abstract said. “This vehicle serves as a solar electric transfer stage, offering enough Delta-V to transfer more than 500 kg of payload from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) after launch on a small lift launch vehicle.

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New Space Tech Research Institutes to Advance Electric Propulsion, Entry Systems

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Technology drives exploration, and as NASA eyes deep-space human exploration, technology is at the forefront of its plans. Preparing for these missions requires technology development within the agency and research by external experts in various fields.

As part of this effort, NASA will establish two new university-led Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs), which will join four already active institutes. The new STRIs will bring together researchers from different disciplines and organizations to tackle challenges associated with electric propulsion ground testing and atmospheric entry systems modeling. The new STRIs aim to advance these game-changing technologies for exploring the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

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Furukawa Electric, JAXA Working to Reduce Weight and Cost of Next-generation Hall Thrusters

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, President: Keiichi Kobayashi, hereinafter “Furukawa Electric”) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Headquarters: Chofu City, Tokyo, Chairman: Hiroshi Yamakawa, under the “JAXA Space Innovation Partnership (J-SPARC) (*1)”, “JAXA”) have started co-creation activities through the development of power sources for next-generation electric propulsion machines (Hall thrusters) for small satellites.

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The Propulsion We’re Supplying, It’s Electrifying

A solar electric propulsion Hall Effect thruster being tested under vacuum conditions at NASA. (Credits: NASA)

CLEVELAND (NASA PR) — Since the beginning of the space program, people have been captivated by big, powerful rockets—like NASA’s Saturn V rocket that sent Apollo to the lunar surface, or the Space Launch System that will produce millions of pounds of thrust as it sends Artemis astronauts back to the Moon.

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Airbus to Build BADR-8 Satellite for Arabsat, with Optical Communications Payload TELEO

The BADR-8 satellite will be based on the-state-of-the-art Airbus Eurostar Neo electric orbit raising platform giving access to a wide range of launchers. (Credit: Airbus)
  • New multi-mission satellite to deliver broadcast, broadband and telecommunications services over Europe, Middle East, Africa and central Asia
  • TELEO payload for new generation optical communications
  • Eighth Eurostar satellite for Arabsat and first Eurostar Neo

RIYADH, 18 August 2020 (Airbus PR) – Airbus has been contracted by Arabsat, one of the world’s top satellite operators, to build BADR-8, their new generation telecommunications satellite. BADR-8 will replace and increase Arabsat’s capacity and augment its core business at the BADR hotspot 26°E.

The BADR-8 satellite will be based on the-state-of-the-art Airbus Eurostar Neo electric orbit raising platform giving access to a wide range of launchers.

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CNES Conducts R&D Challenge for Future Launch Systems

PARIS (CNES PR) — On Wednesday, 24 June, research laboratories, start-ups, PMEs and other firms presented their work contributing to the launch systems of the future to a top-level audience. In all, €750,000 worth of CNES contracts were awarded to the laureates, which each received €50,000 or €100,000 to develop their solutions.

At its Innovation Day on 7 February in Toulouse, CNES announced a Launchers R&D Challenge under its Connect by CNES initiative, in partnership with ArianeGroup and ESA, designed to ease access to funding for launch systems.

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NIAC Award: Ultra Lightweight Nuclear Electric Propulsion Probe for Deep Space Exploration

Graphic depiction of the SPEAR Probe concept. (Credits: Troy Howe)

NASA Innovative Advance Concepts (NIAC)
Phase II Award
Amount: $500,000

SPEAR Probe – An Ultra Lightweight Nuclear Electric Propulsion Probe for Deep Space Exploration

Troy Howe
Howe Industries LLC

Nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) systems have the potential to provide a very effective transit mechanism to celestial bodies outside of the realm of solar power, yet the heavy power source and massive radiators required to justify a reactor core often push NEP spacecraft towards very large masses and major missions.

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