Responsive Satellite Servicing and Sustainable Space Launches Get a Boost Through Astroscale, Virgin Orbit Partnership

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with Virgin Orbit, the responsive launch and space solutions company that has announced a planned business combination with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II (“NextGen”) (NASDAQ: NGCA).

The MOU establishes a new partnership in which the two companies will seek opportunities to cooperate on a series of space initiatives that will drive the future of space sustainability and on-orbit servicing ecosystem. Astroscale is planning dozens of missions over the next decade and is in discussions with Virgin Orbit to launch as many as 10 of those on Virgin Orbit’s LauncherOne. The two companies are also working toward a future joint mission concept focused on satellite servicing.

(more…)

Orbit Fab, U.S Air Force Sign CRADA for On-Orbit Refueling Technology

SAN FRANCISCO, October 14, 2021 (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space™ company, has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Space Vehicle Directorate, and the Spacecraft Technology Division to advance on-orbit refueling technology.

Orbit Fab will offer a ubiquitous supply of propellant in Earth orbit. Providing satellites the right fuel, in the right location, when they need it, will enable next generation capabilities for in-space refueling, servicing, assembly and manufacturing. Under the collaboration, Orbit Fab will share technical details and make available its hardware products, such as the RAFTI (The Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface) and a cooperative docking guidance solution. The Air Force, in return, will review Orbit Fab’s refueling technologies, advise on requirements and designs, and make available its facilities for advancing performance and qualification. The knowledge exchange will allow Orbit Fab to bring to market its products for both defense users and commercial companies.

(more…)

Simulating Space on Earth: NASA Receives Hardware for Testing Satellite Servicing Tech

Engineers test grapple capabilities for satellite servicing using a gravity offset table at NASA’s Goddard Flight Facility. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — In August 2021, new testing equipment arrived at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in the form of a gravity offset table. NASA engineers will use the table to test robotic satellite servicing technologies that will one day operate in space.  

(more…)

Starfish Space Raises $7 Million to Develop the Otter Space Tug

Otto space tug approaches satellite. (Credit: Starfish Space)

Kent, Wash., September 28, 2021 (Starfish Space PR) – Starfish Space, a satellite servicing company founded by former Blue Origin engineers, announced today that it has raised a $7M funding round co-led by NFX and MaC Venture Capital, with participation from PSL Ventures, Boost VC, Liquid2 Ventures, and Hypothesis.

(more…)

Orbit Fab Selects Colorado as Home to New Headquarters

Gov. Polis, Lt. Governor Primavera welcome Colorado’s newest member of the aerospace industry, State out competes Texas and Florida 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (OEDIT PR) – Governor Jared Polis, Lt. Governor Primavera and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) announced today that Orbit Fab, a multi-orbit refueling servicing company (The Gas Station in Space™) has chosen to relocate its headquarters and engineering team from San Francisco to Colorado. 

“More and more companies are moving to Colorado because of quality of life and our state is the best place to live, work and build a business.  We’re thrilled that so many innovative businesses are recognizing this, investing in Colorado and creating jobs,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We’re pleased to welcome Orbit Fab to our state and look forward to watching their growth.”

(more…)

Bradford Space, Neutron Star Systems to Cooperate on Orbital Transportation & Maneuvering Technology

HEERLE, Netherlands (Bradford Space PR) — Bradford Space (Bradford) and Neutron Star Systems (NSS) established a cooperative agreement for enhanced orbital transport and maneuver technology for cis-lunar logistics. The agreement lays the foundation to increase the total propulsive capability of Bradford’s recently announced Space Logistics Service by incorporating NSS electric propulsion technology with Bradford’s green monopropellant technology.

The Bradford/NSS cooperation was fostered by a recent meeting at the United States Space Force and Air Force Research Laboratory Catalyst Accelerators Catalyst Collision event. The cooperation is founded on Bradford’s leadership in non-toxic propellant systems and the wide propellant flexibility of NSS’s SUPREMETM electric thruster. With growing concerns over the safety and cost of traditional Hydrazine propellant, the adoption of new green propellants will be critical for enabling safer and more sustainable space logistics. Bradford is the world leading provider of high thrust green propulsion systems with 25 spacecraft flying Bradford’s LMP-103S proprietary green monopropellant.

(more…)

Benchmark Unveils In-Space Mobility Service to Unlock OSAM Innovations

Flexible taxi-like pay-as-you-go propulsion service enables satellite operators and service providers to dramatically reduce upfront mission costs and boost revenues and ROI by converting capex to opex

SCOUT and Orbit Fab have signed the first Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) agreements to speed their OSAM missions

BURLINGTON, Vt., June 23, 2021 (Benchmark Space Systems PR) – Benchmark Space Systems, a leading provider of in-space mobility products and services, today announced a breakthrough in-space mobility service that virtually eliminates upfront propulsion equipment costs and boosts on-orbit, servicing, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM) mission revenues by allowing satellite operators and service providers to pay as they go for in-space transport.

(more…)

SpaceFund Announces Full Deployment of First Fund

HOUSTON (SpaceFund PR) — SpaceFund Inc., announced it has fully deployed investments from its first “LaunchPad” fund today. The venture capital firm placed investor funds in 14 companies, including both some well-known NewSpace stars, as well as seeding rising stars it believes capable of helping lead humanity into the frontier of space.

“We’re right on track in our plan to seed and support the growth of these amazing companies,” said SpaceFund founder Rick Tumlinson. “Our formula is working. First we find brilliant frontier tech startups in need of early funding, then we bring in funds from visionary investors, and after significant diligence, we place those funds in just the right places to power the space revolution.”

(more…)

Eight Companies Join Catalyst Accelerator’s On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing Cohort

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 19, 2021 (Catalyst Accelerator PR) — Eight small businesses will come together virtually from across the country for the Catalyst Accelerator’s cohort focused on On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing.

The Catalyst Accelerator, powered by the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), was developed to promote technology advancement for the warfighter and guide technology transfer for the government to industry and vice versa. The implications for in-space manufacturing are seemingly limitless. Therefore, the US Space Force, in conjunction with AFRL/RV, is seeking bold and disruptive technologies enabling on-orbit servicing and manufacturing.

(more…)

Northrop Grumman and Intelsat Make History with Satellite Docking of Second Mission Extension Vehicle

An image of Intelsat 10-02 taken by MEV-2’s infrared wide field of view camera at 15m away. (Credit: SpaceLogistics)

DULLES, Va., April 12, 2021 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, SpaceLogistics LLC, have successfully completed the docking of the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (MEV-2) to the Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02) commercial communications satellite to deliver life-extension services. The docking was completed at 1:34 p.m. EST.

(more…)

ESA Invites Ideas to Open Up In-orbit Servicing Market

Clean Space has broadened the concept of an active debris removal to a multi-purpose Space Servicing Vehicle that would include debris removal as one of its aims. (Credit: ESA)

PARIS (ESA PR) — ESA is seeking to open the way to a new era of in-space activities such as refuelling, refurbishment, assembly, manufacturing, and recycling. The Agency is now soliciting ideas for In-Orbit Servicing activities from European industry and academia.

(more…)

SPACovirus Sweeps Space Sector

Richard Branson celebrates the first Virgin Galactic trade on the New York Stock Exchange. (Credit Virgin Galactic)
Wall Street’s latest easy money craze has attracted a growing number of space companies. But, just because they can go public, should they?

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Seven space companies have gotten caught up in the SPACovirus sweeping through Wall Street. The impact on the space industry is going to be interesting to watch.

A SPAC is a special purpose acquisition company. It’s a publicly traded investment firm that, with outside investors, acquires or merges with another company, and then takes the acquisition public under its own name.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Orbit Fab to Launch Orbital Fuel Depot Next Year

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Orbit Fab plans to launch its first operational fuel depot into orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket no earlier than June 2021.

Orbit Fab’s Tanker 001 Tenzing will store propellant for satellite serving spacecraft and other vehicles that need refueling. The spacecraft will be placed in a sun synchronous orbit by one of Spaceflight Inc.’s Sherpa orbital transfer vehicles.

(more…)

Maxar Awards MDA Contracts for On-orbit Servicing Technologies

OSAM-1 mission (Credit: NASA)

BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — MDA today announced that it has signed multiple contracts with Maxar Technologies to provide advanced space robotics technologies for the Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER), a technology demonstration on NASA’s On‑orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) mission.

(more…)