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.

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Delivering Fuel in Geostationary Orbit, Via the Moon

Credit: Orbit Fab

SAN FRANCISCO, September 24, 2021 (Orbit Fab PR) — Already the leading supplier of refueling ports for satellites, Orbit Fab announced that it will soon be launching the first propellant tanker to geostationary orbit. The company’s second tanker will establish flight heritage on all the elements of the company’s tanker technology, which has been designed for the harshest orbital regimes and for refueling the largest space assets. This announcement comes on the heels of the company’s successful launch of the world’s first Gas Stations in SpaceTM propellant depot last June into a low Earth orbit.

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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.”

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Benchmark and Starfish Space Team to Enable Precision On-Orbit Services

Tanker 1 satellite. (Credit: Orbit Fab)

Duo testing Starfish CEPHALOPOD RPOD software with Benchmark’s Halcyon thruster powering first-ever Orbit Fab tanker maneuvers in space

BURLINGTON, Vt. and KENT, Wash., May 18, 2021 – The future of the space economy relies heavily on servicing infrastructure and vehicles that can make precision maneuvers to successfully approach, inspect and dock with spacecraft in need of refueling, maintenance and a wide range of on-orbit services.

Starfish Space, a satellite servicing company, and Benchmark Space Systems, a leading provider of in-space mobility systems and services, today announced a strategic collaboration to advance precision on-orbit refueling and docking capabilities, beginning with demonstrations during Orbit Fab’s Tanker 1 mission launching next month aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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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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Orbit Fab and SCOUT Collaborate to Host First Commercial Load Inspection for Space Situation Awareness on the Launch of Fuel Tankers in 2021

SAN FRANCISCO (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space™ company, and SCOUT, an in-space inspection firm, announced the world’s first dedicated commercial in-space situational awareness mission. SCOUT will launch a SCOUT-Vision payload on Orbit Fab’s Tanker-001 Tenzing fuel depot, scheduled to ride to orbit aboard a Spaceflight Inc. Sherpa orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) on an upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 mission later this year.

The hosted payload is a demonstration mission of SCOUT’s in-orbit inspection capability and the collaboration provides tangible evidence of Orbit Fab and SCOUT’s alignment and shared commitment to the satellite servicing ecosystem.

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Orbit Fab Secures Additional Seed Round Funding for its Gas Stations in Space

SAN FRANCISCO (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space company, announced that it has raised a seed extension round led by Munich Re Ventures, the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Munich Re Group, one of the world’s leading providers of reinsurance, primary insurance, and insurance-related risk solutions. 

The funding will help Orbit Fab achieve its vision of an in-orbit ecosystem for satellite servicing, national security, and space commercialization. Orbit Fab recently announced that it will launch its first fuel tanker, Tanker 001 Tenzing, in the coming year.

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Orbit Fab Wins SBIR Award for Satellite Refueling System

Orbit Fab has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award worth $222,713 to help fund the development of a refueling system for smaller satellites.

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF) America’s Seed Fund awarded the $222,713 grant to the company, which is based in Cupertino, Calif. Daniel Faber is the principal investigator.

“The proposed project will remove the complexity of performing spacecraft proximity operations and docking in order to facilitate commercial refueling through a ‘bolt on’ standardized component with the associated sensors and functions,” according to the proposal abstract.

“The system will be installed during production on the ground. This integrated package of sensors, communications, fueling valves, and docking latches will provide the functionality required for a servicing vehicle and a client satellite to safely approach, securely dock, and exchange fuel between the two vehicles,” the abstract added.

Orbit Fab will use the NSF funding to refine the concept, determine the optimal optical alignment for operations and docking, and identify the suite of sensors required.

Startup Plans Fuel Depots in Orbit for Satellite Servicing

Credit: Orbital Fab

Space News reports that a company run by the former CEO of Deep Space Industries plans to develop orbiting fuel depots.

Orbit Fab, a Silicon Valley-based company with about a dozen employees, said Aug. 28 that a round of funding led by venture capital firm Bolt will enable it to demonstrate technology for fuel tanks that could be used by future satellite servicing systems.

“We differentiate ourselves from the satellite servicing operators in that we’re looking to put up just dumb tanks full of propellant, to provide that propellant where it’s needed, and we’re looking to partner with the satellite servicing operators to help improve their business models,” said Daniel Faber, chief executive of Orbit Fab, in an interview.

Faber said Orbit Fab will work with companies developing satellite servicing systems rather than create its own. “We’ve seen that the satellite servicing operators have a lot on their plates standing up their businesses, so they can’t take on the extra risk of standing up a gas station business,” he said. “We decided we would take that part.”

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That initial mission, scheduled for launch next year, will be done in collaboration with NASA. Faber said the agency is providing “in-kind support,” with additional details to be released in the coming weeks.