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.


NASA Selects Paragon’s In-space Fuel Depot Tech for SBIR Phase I Award

TUCSON, Ariz, May 03, 2016 (Pargon SDC PR) – Paragon Space Development Corporation® (Paragon) and partner Thin Red Line Aerospace (TRLA) received a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from NASA to provide a unique solution that will extend the life of cryogenic upper stage rockets.

The useful life of a standard upper stage is no more than a few hours. The thermally isolating structure is a key piece to allowing systems to operate for weeks or months on orbit, giving upper stage platforms additional flexibility for payload maneuvering and deployment timing as well as direct use of upper stages for commercial and scientific use.


Paragon Wins NASA SBIR Phase II Contract for Improved In-Space Transportation

paragonsdcTUCSON, Ariz., March 21, 2016 (Paragon PR) – Paragon Space Development Corporation® (Paragon) and partner Thin Red Line Aerospace (TRLA) received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from NASA to advance their Cryogenic Encapsulating Launch Shroud and Insulated Upper Stage (CELSIUS) technology. The Phase II effort will design and test a novel, high performance, inflatable system to address the agency’s near-term needs as well as provide a resource for future exploration missions to the moon, Mars, and deep space.


Debate Rages Over Fuel Depots vs. Heavy Lift Vehicles

ULA fuel depot
United Launch Alliance fuel depot concept. (Credit: ULA)

NASA is pursuing a 2016 orbiting fuel depot demonstration flight as a vigorous debate rages over whether depots or heavy-lift vehicles are the most cost effective way of sending humans on missions beyond Earth orbit. Aviation Week has the latest on NASA’s planned test flight:

NASA is striving to advance orbiting fuel depot technology through a project called Cryogenic Propellant Storage and Transfer (CPST), which hopes to launch an 1,800-kg (4,000-lb.) demonstration mission in 2016.


Rohrabacher Demands Release of NASA Fuel Depot Analysis

Washington, Sep 26 – Today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) continued his criticism of NASA’s new design for deep space exploration by sending a letter to former NASA’s Administrator Dr. Michael D. Griffin asking him to join Rohrabacher’s call for NASA to release their recent analysis and conclusions regarding on-orbit fuel depots. Dr. Griffin spoke about on-orbit technology during his testimony before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on September 22rd, 2011.

“I’m certain you are aware that on-orbit fuel depots were included in NASA’s initial Human Exploration Framework…as presented on May 25, 2010,” writes Rohrabacher. “Somewhere in the intervening time, depots were dropped from the plan. It is important for Congress and the American people to understand how and why that decision was made.”


United Launch Alliance Proposes On-Orbit Fuel Depots


ULA Proposes On-Orbit Gas Stations for Space Exploration
Aviation Week

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is proposing on-orbit propellant depots to increase the capability of NASA’s Constellation exploration architecture. The plan to use depots derived from an advanced upper stage for the Atlas V and Delta IV evolved expandable launch vehicles (EELV) has caught the attention of the Augustine panel, which has included in-space refueling in four of seven options identified.