Phase Four and OrbitFab to Collaborate on in-Orbit Refueling

Companies seek to explore collaboration with RAFTI™ refueling system and Maxwell engines using both traditional and advanced propellants

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., January 24, 2022 (Phase Four PR) –– Phase Four, the creator of the radio-frequency thruster for satellite propulsion, announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Orbit Fab, the market leader for in-orbit refueling services and the creator of RAFTI, the industry standard satellite refueling interface. The companies seek to ensure that future Phase Four Maxwell engines may be refueled in-orbit to extend mission lifetimes and maximize ROI for spacecraft. The companies will evaluate RAFTI compatibility for refueling of traditional electric propulsion propellants such as xenon as well as advanced propellants such as ASCENT available to Phase Four’s propellant-agnostic core technology – the RF Thruster.

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NASA Partners with Altius, Honeybee & OrbitFab to Test Satellite Fixtures for Robotic Grappling

A robotic servicing arm (left) practices autonomous capture of a satellite mockup (right) in Goddard’s Robotic Operations Center. Because there is no grapple fixture, the arm will use the marman ring, which originally attached the satellite to the rocket that launched it to space. (Credits: NASA/Rebecca Roth)

by Tracy Vogel
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has chosen three companies to participate in a new partnership to test and evaluate satellite servicing technologies.

Altius Space Machines of Broomfield, Colorado, Honeybee Robotics of Longmont, Colorado, and Orbit Fab of San Francisco will provide cooperative robotic grapple fixtures and data to be studied by NASA’s Exploration and In-Space Services projects division (NExIS, formerly known as the Satellite Servicing Projects Division) engineers. The engineers will utilize robotics facilities at Goddard via Space Act Agreements to collect data on the performance of the companies’ fixtures.

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Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator Announces Class of 2020

LOS ANGELES (Techstars PR) — Today Techstars announce the 10 companies joining the second class of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, typically located in Los Angeles but running virtually this summer due to COVID-19.

Over the next three months these companies will rapidly accelerate their businesses by working closely with Techstars, Starburst, our network of expert mentors, and our formal sponsors from industry and government: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, Israel Aerospace Industries North America, and the U.S. Air Force, with support from The Aerospace Corporation. Our Demo Day is on September 9, 2020.

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