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.
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.
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.
Space Newsreports 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.”
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.