Orbit Fab and Benchmark Space Systems Team to Establish In-Space High-Test Peroxide-based Refueling, Servicing Infrastructure

SAN FRANCISCO  and  BURLINGTON, VT, February 23, 2021 (Orbit Fab PR) – Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space™ company, and Benchmark Space Systems (BSS), a leading provider of in-space mobility solutions, today announced a green, hydrogen-peroxide-based refueling and servicing infrastructure partnership to extend satellite missions and provide the essential fuel for the evolving ecosystem in space.

As part of the teaming, Orbit Fab will bundle its RAFTI fluid transfer interface with Benchmark’s Halcyon thruster system to offer an integrated refillable, non-toxic propulsion package. The innovative refueling solution is set for a technical demonstration at the SpaceX launch pad and in space aboard Orbit Fab’s first operational fuel depot to be lifted into orbit on a Falcon 9 later this year.

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Norway Selects Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) to Develop Technology Demonstrator Microsatellite

NorSat_TD satellite (Credit: Space Flight Laboratory)

TORONTO (Space Flight Laboratory PR) – The Norwegian Space Agency (NOSA) has awarded Space Flight Laboratory (SFL) of Canada a contract to develop the NorSat Technology Demonstrator (TD) microsatellite. With a primary mission of testing out new technologies in space, NorSat-TD will validate payloads and concepts from Norway, the Netherlands, France, and Italy.

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Earth Observant Inc. Successfully Tests Next-generation Propulsion Technology to Support Future Very Low Earth Orbit Missions

Earth Observant completed tests of a pioneering Hall-effect thruster at the US Air Force Research Lab’s vacuum chamber facility at Edwards Air Force Base over a period of two weeks. The HET-X Thruster uses traditional EP fuel sources and a new, undisclosed propellant solution that is low-cost, non-toxic, and widely available.

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 18, 2021 (Earth Observant PR) — Earth Observant Inc. (EOI) successfully completed a series of tests on its internally developed Hall-effect thruster that introduces new propellant types while maintaining thruster efficiency and minimizing erosion. This technology supports EOI’s core mission of operating a Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) constellation of Earth Imaging satellites to deliver ultra-high resolution image data.

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NASA to Work with Industry to Mature Green Propulsion, Advanced Materials, Space Robots and More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected 17 U.S. companies for 20 partnerships to mature industry-developed space technologies for the Moon and beyond through the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s 2020 Announcement of Collaboration Opportunity (ACO).

The selected proposals are relevant to technology topic areas outlined in the solicitation, including cryogenic fluid management and propulsion; advanced propulsion; sustainable power; in-situ propellant and consumable production; intelligent/resilient systems and advanced robotics; advanced materials and structures; entry, descent, and landing; and small spacecraft technologies.

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New NASA Partnerships to Mature Commercial Space Technologies, Capabilities

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected  17 U.S. companies for 20 partnerships to mature industry-developed space technologies for the Moon and beyond. The NASA and industry teams will design a 3D printing system for NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program, test a simple method for removing dust from planetary solar arrays, mature a first-stage rocket recovery system for a small satellite launch provider, and more.

Various NASA centers will work with the companies, ranging from small businesses and large aerospace companies to a previous NASA challenge winner, to provide expertise and access to the agency’s unique testing facilities. The partnerships aim to accelerate the development of emerging space capabilities.

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Nuclear Tech in Space: What’s on the Horizon?

Illustration of a Mars transit habitat and nuclear propulsion system that could one day take astronauts to Mars. (Credits: NASA)

La Grange Park, Ill. (American Nuclear Society PR) — NASA aims to develop nuclear technologies for two space applications: propulsion and surface power. Both can make planned NASA missions to the moon more agile and more ambitious, and both are being developed with future crewed missions to Mars in mind. Like advanced reactors here on Earth, space nuclear technologies have an accelerated timeline for deployment in this decade.

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T4i Won Contract from ESA for REGULUS Propulsion System Evolution

REGULOUS propulsion (Credit: T-4i)

PADUA, Italy (T4i PR) — T4i, a company providing customized and off-the-shelf propulsion systems, is entering the microsatellite market with its first propulsion system product, REGULUS. It all begun in 2006 with the initial thruster development at the University of Padua.

Passing through the years the first thruster version was miniaturized and then surrounded by all the other subsystems to get a complete propulsion unit. Today REGULUS is almost ready to be integrated in UNISAT-7 for its first launch in space in October.

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NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission Nears Completion

Green Propellant Infusion Mission in orbit. (Credit: NASA)

by Lance Davis
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA just validated a new type of propellant, or fuel, for spacecraft of all sizes. Instead of toxic hydrazine, space missions can use a less toxic, “green” propellant and the compatible technologies designed to go along with it. In a little over a year since launch, NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) successfully proved a never-before-used propellant and propulsion system work as intended, demonstrating both are practical options for future missions.

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AFWERX Awards Accion Systems $2.25 Million Phase II SBIR Contract

Air Force Award Will Drive Advanced Development and Commercialization of Multi-Mode In-Space Propulsion System.

BOSTON, Mass., August 11, 2020 (Accion Systems PR — In-space propulsion pioneer Accion Systems announced today that it has been awarded a follow-on Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract through AFWERX, in partnership with Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), and the National Security Innovation Network (NSIN). The award recognizes the successful completion of the Phase I SBIR contact earlier this year and exciting promise for Accion’s TILE ion electrospray propulsion for use in national security missions. 

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Exotrail Signs Contract with CNES to Develop Cluster of Thrusters

An artistic rendering of a satellite firing with a Exotrail ExoMG cluster of four thrusters. (Credit: Exotrail)

PARIS (Exotrail PR) — Exotrail has signed a contract with the French Space Agency, CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales), for a development project concerning the clusterisation of several Hall Effect Thrusters.

This Research & Technology (R&T) contract will allow Exotrail to demonstrate its capability to use several thrusters together in order to reach higher thrust and power for larger satellites’ needs.

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Exotrail Raises 11 Million Euros to Become Leader in On-orbit Smallsat Transportation

Exotrail’s vision: onboard propulsion, on-orbit transportation and on-orbit servicing. (Credits: Real Dream, Exotrail)

PARIS, July 16, 2020 (Exotrail PR) — Exotrail has raised 11 million euros ($13 million) to become a leader in on-orbit transportation for small satellites.

This Series A round was led by two European Venture Capital firms, Karista (through Paris Region Venture Fund) and Innovacom. IXO Private Equity, NCI-Waterstart, Turenne Capital and returning investors 360 Capital, Irdi Soridec Gestion and Bpifrance also invested.

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ESA Awards €1 Million to NanoAvionics to Develop New Satellite Propulsion Technologies

VILNIUS, Lithuania (NanoAvioncs PR) — The European Space Agency (ESA) has granted 1 million euros ($1.1 million) to nanosatellite mission integrator NanoAvionics to develop key components for small satellite propulsion systems.

The new propulsion technologies, with a thrust of up to 5N, aim to further reduce the cost of small satellite projects while making each satellite more reliable, propellant supply chains safer, and constellations more economical. Based on those components a new generation of propulsion systems for small satellites will be used in future ESA missions, and available to commercial satellite operators across the world.

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ESA Moves Ahead on Low-cost Reusable Rocket Engine

A gas generator produced by additive layer manufacturing completed two test campaigns in 2017 and 2018 at the P8 test bench at the DLR German Aerospace Center’s Lampoldshausen testing facility which provided valuable information on the proposed innovative design. (Credit: ArianeGroup)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA’s Prometheus is the precursor of ultra-low-cost rocket propulsion that is flexible enough to fit a fleet of new launch vehicles for any mission and will be potentially reusable.

At the Space19+ Council meeting in Seville, Spain last November, ESA received full funding to bring the current Prometheus engine design to a technical maturity suitable for industry. Developed by ArianeGroup, Prometheus is now seen as key in the effort to prepare competitive future European access to space.

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NASA Funds Six Small Spacecraft Technologies for Development

NASA has selected six small satellite technology projects for continued development under phase II of its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

The selected proposals included: two projects focused on in-space propulsion; two systems for de-orbiting satellites; one project focused on radiation shielding for small spacecraft; and an improved turbo-pump for small satellite launch vehicles.

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Citadel Space Systems. Applied Ion Systems Partner on New Electric Propulsion and Nanosat Technology

OXFORDSHIRE, UK (Citadel Space Systems PR) – Citadel Space Systems Ltd (CSS) announced today that it has formalised a collaborative agreement with US-based Applied Ion Systems LLC (AIS) to develop a revolutionary new type of electric propulsion for nanosatellites.  Using a type of thruster technology called electrospray propulsion, Applied Ion Systems hope to develop a set of thruster systems that out-perform the current market in cost, efficiency, power and lifetime.

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