Orbit Fab Announces Plans for Hydrazine Refueling Depot in Orbit

Credit: Orbit Fab

Orbit Fab has announced plans for an orbital refueling depot. The Register reports:

Spacecraft running low on fuel could get a refill from an orbital station by the year 2025, according to a startup named Orbit Fab that reckons it can charge $20 million to top up your tank….

Orbit Fab is therefore hoping to build, for want of a better word, a depot 300 km from Earth in geostationary orbit that can send out shuttles each containing, say, 100kg of hydrazine to visiting satellites and potentially other spacecraft that need a refill and can plug into the tanks….

Co-founder and chief development officer Jeremy Schiel said government agencies and private operators have “expressed explicit interest to get refueled in the next three to five years.” He also said that the design of the fuel depot system is “basically done,” and that the company is now working on designing its fuel shuttles…..

Astroscale, an orbital debris removal biz, is the only customer that has publicly signed up for the satellite refueling service. Orbit Fab has committed to supplying 1,000 kilograms of xenon propellant to top up Astroscale’s Life Extension In-Orbit (LEXI) satellites, which are capable of being refueled in space and are scheduled to launch in 2026 into geostationary orbit. 

Experts Say Urgent Action Required on Space Safety as Number of Satellites Soars and Orbital Debris Proliferates

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Urgent action is needed to ensure that Earth orbit continues to be a safe place in which to operate. And industry must take the lead because governments are moving far too slowly to address an increasingly serious problem.

That was the consensus of the panel of experts that debated the issue during last week’s Space Tech Expo. They expressed concerns about the growing number of large satellite constellations and the enormous amount of dangerous debris already in orbit.

Josef Koller, co-founder of the Space Safety Institute, said space is now a fully international arena no longer dominated by a handful of international nations. The figures laid out by Koller and his fellow panelists demonstrated how much more crowded Earth orbit has become:

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OneWeb, Astroscale, and the UK and European Space Agencies Partner to Launch Space Junk Servicer ELSA-M with €14.8 million Investment

The ELSA-M servicer will launch towards the end of 2024. The partnership is taking an important step to create a more sustainable space environment. 

United Kingdom (Astroscale PR) – OneWeb together with Astroscale Ltd.* will seek to safeguard the satellite economy with ground-breaking new spacecraft technology, thanks in part to a new investment of €14.8 million. The mission to demonstrate Astroscale’s ELSA-M servicer will launch towards the end of 2024, with ambitious plans to deliver a debris removal service to satellite operators thereafter.

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Virgin Orbit Suffers Net Loss of $157.3 Million in 2021

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)
  • Successfully launched 7 customer satellites onboard its LauncherOne rocket during the Above the Clouds mission on January 13, 2022, the company’s third successful launch.
  • Full year 2021 revenue increased to $7.4 million, up from $3.8 million in the prior year period.
  • Growing backlog of contracts, including selection by NASA’s launch service program to support the agency’s VADR missions.
  • Completed its going public transaction and began trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange on December 30, 2021.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Orbit PR) — Virgin Orbit (Nasdaq: VORB) (“Virgin Orbit” or the “Company”), the responsive launch and space solutions company, today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2021.

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Influential Global Leaders from Space and Technology Sectors Join Astroscale Holdings Board of Directors

TOKYO, Feb. 25, 2022 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced that Jan Woerner, former European Space Agency’s (“ESA”) Director General, and Yuko Noguchi, an experienced lawyer specializing in technology law and intellectual property, have been appointed to the Astroscale Board of Directors effective February 25, 2022.

“We enthusiastically welcome Jan and Yuko to the Astroscale Board at such an exciting time in our development,” said Nobu Okada, Astroscale Founder & CEO. “Jan has long been a supporter of space sustainability and has driven the development of the ecosystem in Europe. Yuko’s understanding of the legal landscape around innovative technologies is second to none. Jan and Yuko’s combined expertise in their fields and passion for our mission will benefit us as we continue to drive the on-orbit servicing market forward.”

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GMV Joins Net Zero Space Initiative to Eliminate Space Debris

  • The use of outer space and the more than $1 trillion in benefits estimated for 2030 is threatened by rising orbital pollution
  • There is an urgent need for all stakeholders in the space market to reach a consensus on its safe and sustainable use
  • GMV is a world reference in the study, monitoring and prevention of space debris proliferation, with more than 20 years of experience in this market

MADRID, Spain (GMV PR) — The space environment is becoming increasingly polluted due to the proliferation of objects orbiting in an uncontrolled manner around the earth, particularly in low and geostationary orbits (the most interesting for use and exploitation). Estimates suggest that there are more than one million objects larger than 1 cm capable of causing potential damage of various kinds, and the number is increasing at a dangerous rate. To ensure a sustainable use of space, various key players in the space industry (*), including GMV, have launched the international initiative called Net Zero Space.

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AAC Clyde Space Quarterly and Full Year Results

2022-02-17 AAC Clyde Space AB (publ)

Fourth quarter, October-December 2021 (compared with October-December 2020)

  • Net sales increased 116% to SEK 62.1 M (28.7)
  • · Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to SEK -1.0 M (-10.9) and to 0.0 M (-1.6) excluding non-recurring personnel costs of -1.0 M (-1.7) and acquisition costs of 0 M (-7.6)
  • Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) amounted to SEK -8.0 M (-13.2)
  • The loss after tax was SEK -8.3 M (-13.4)
  • Basic and diluted earnings per share amounted to SEK -0.04 (-0.14)
  • Cash flow from operating activities totalled SEK -1.7 (-11.7)
  • The order backlog increased 161% to SEK 407.2 M (156.3)
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UK Space Agency Provides New Funding to Support Sustainable Future of Space

Distribution of space debris. (Credit: ESA)
  • Space debris is a major threat to the satellite services we rely on
  • 13 projects involve industry and academia across the UK

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — The UK Space Agency is providing £1.7 million [US $2.3 million] for new projects to support sustainable space operations, Science Minister George Freeman announced today.

The 13 new projects will help track and remove dangerous debris in space. They include an AI-based tool which can take autonomous action to avoid a collision and another which will see multiple small spacecraft fired at debris before taking it into the atmosphere to dispose of it.

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Astroscale Halts ELSA-d Capture Attempt Due to Anomaly

The ELSA-d satellite servicer and client launched March 2021, the team prepares to demonstrate the servicer’s technology and capability to remove the Client debris from this summer. (Credit: Astroscale)

TOKYO (Astroscale PR) — We have begun operations for our groundbreaking ELSA-d debris removal mission’s next phase: an autonomous capture demonstration in orbit. On January 25th, the ELSA-d servicer spacecraft successfully released its client spacecraft and began autonomous relative navigation, maintaining a constant and safe distance from the client spacecraft over multiple orbits, as designed.

Following an excellent start to mission operations, our team detected anomalous spacecraft conditions. For the safety of the mission, we have decided not to proceed with the capture attempt until the anomalies are resolved. Both spacecraft are operational and safely separated. We are in communication with agencies, regulators, space surveillance networks, and our orbital neighbors. We are continuing with the mission and will provide an update as soon as possible.

Astroscale U.S. and Orbit Fab Sign First On-Orbit Satellite Fuel Sale Agreement

Credit: Orbit Fab

DENVER, Jan. 11, 2022 (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space™ refueling service provider and Astroscale U.S. Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. and market leader in securing long-term orbital sustainability, today announced a commercial agreement to refuel Astroscale’s Life Extension In-Orbit (LEXI™) Servicer in geostationary orbit (GEO); LEXI is the first satellite designed to be refueled.

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Surrey Satellite to Lead UK Space Agency Project to Study Active De-orbit of Space Debris

Novel technology will be required for these ambitious steps, which are proposed as part of the new ‘Protect’ Accelerator, one of three currently being defined to help shape Europe’s future in space. (Credit: ESA)

The LEOPARD (Low Earth Orbit Pursuit for Active Debris Removal) study will define concepts for de-orbiting 2 uncooperative UK space assets from low earth orbit

GUILDFORD, UK (Surrey Satellite PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has been selected to lead a UK Space Agency study to define the mission requirements for a complex mission to de-orbit two non-operational space debris targets. SSTL is a world-leader in the manufacture and in-orbit operation of small satellites, and has valuable experience in two previous Active Debris Removal (ADR) demonstration missions; RemoveDEBRIS, which concluded a series of debris retrieval demonstrations in January 2019, and Astroscale’s 2021 ELSA-d mission for which SSTL supplied the Client “target” satellite.

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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.

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Astroscale Closes Its Largest Funding Round to Date, Bringing Total Capital Raised to U.S. $300 Million

Additional U.S. $109 million in capital will accelerate on-orbit services technology development, facility expansion and global hiring.

TOKYO, Nov. 25, 2021 (Astroscale PR) – Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it closed its Series F round with additional funding of U.S. $109 million from a group of new investors led by THE FUND Limited Partnership in Japan, with participation from international investors including Seraphim Space Investment Trust plc (“Seraphim Space”) in the United Kingdom and DNCA Invest Beyond Global Leaders, a sub-fund of the umbrella structured fund “DNCA Invest” incorporated under the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, managed by DNCA Finance, a Limited Partnership in France. This is the largest funding round in the company’s history and brings the total amount raised to U.S. $300 million, affirming investors’ confidence in the rapidly expanding on-orbit servicing market.

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Rocket Lab Announces Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results, Issues Guidance for Fourth Quarter

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

Q3 2021 Financial Results Highlights

  • Revenue above high end of prior guidance range at $5.3 million
  • Backlog increased from $141 million at June 30, 2021 to $183 million as of September 30, 2021, and currently stands at $237 million as of November 15, 2021
  • Space Systems revenue in the third quarter 2021 grew 360% over the same quarterly period in 2020 to represent 27% of total revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2021
  • Successfully completed the merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation resulting in ending cash balance at September 30, 2021 of $792.7 million

Q4 2021 Guidance

  • Revenue to range between $23 million to $25 million
  • GAAP and non-GAAP gross margins of 13 percent and 27 percent, respectively
  • GAAP and non-GAAP operating expenses between $24 million to $26 million, and $19 million to $21 million, respectively
  • GAAP Net Loss between $24 million and $26 million, and Adjusted EBITDA loss of $9 million to $11 million, which reflects adjustments for stock-based compensation, 3rd party fees associated with M&A activity, depreciation and amortization, FX gains and losses, interest expense, taxes and other recurring and non-recurring items
  • All of the above exclude any warrant expense impacts from the public and private warrants assumed from the Vector Acquisition Corporation merger that closed on August 25, 2021, and also excludes any impacts from the Advance Solutions Inc. acquisition and related purchase price accounting, and excludes any financial contributions and accounting impacts from the pending Planetary Systems Corporation acquisition announced today

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended September 30, 2021.

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Net Zero Space Declaration Nets 11 Signatories

The scales of the space debris problem (Credit: ESA)

Eleven space stakeholders have pledged themselves to avoiding the future generation of space debris and remediating the junk that is already clogging up Earth orbit by signing the Net Zero Space Declaration last week.

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