Orbit Fab has announced plans for an orbital refueling depot. The Registerreports:
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.
DENVER and COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 7, 2022 (Orbit Fab/Neutron Star Systems PR) — Orbit Fab and Neutron Star Systems (NSS) established a cooperative agreement for co-development of satellite refueling solutions with green propellants. The agreement lays the foundation to increase the range of refuellable propellants by combining NSS propellant-agnostic electric propulsion technology with Orbit Fab’s refueling interfaces and tankers.
The White House has proposed hiking NASA’s budget by nearly $2 billion to $26 billion for fiscal year 2023 as the space agency gears up for an uncrewed flight test of a new rocket and spacecraft designed to help return astronauts to the moon for the first time in 50 years.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab has been awarded a $12 Million AFWERX Strategic Funding Increase and Tactical Funding Increase (STRATFI) contract to integrate its Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface (RAFTI) service value on to DOD assets and provide refueling services.
Orbit Fab was founded in 2018 with the mission to build the in-space propellant supply chain. Orbit Fab has developed the RAFTI (Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface) service valve in partnership with the Space Force. RAFTI is a fueling port that enables spacecraft to be refueled on-orbit and can be used as a drop-in replacement for existing satellite fill-and-drain valves. RAFTI has been selected as the primary refueling interface for multiple DoD on-orbit refueling missions and this STRATFI will enable Orbit Fab to scale its operations to reliably serve government and commercial refueling demand.
“Orbit Fab is excited to expand our collaborative partnership with DoD and to support our Gas Stations in Space refueling services,” Jeremy Schiel, Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer of Orbit Fab, Inc.
About Orbit Fab Inc.
Orbit Fab believes a bustling in-space economy is a precondition to permanent jobs in space. By providing a ubiquitous supply of satellite propellant in LEO, GEO, and cis-lunar space (branded Gas Stations in Space), the company improves existing space business models (communications and Earth observation) and helps open new industries like space tourism, manufacturing, and mining. Orbit Fab has racked up a number of world-firsts: the first-ever commercially available in-space refueling port (RAFTI), the first-ever private company to resupply the International Space Station with water, and the first-ever satellite fuel depot. The future for satellites is no longer restricted to the fuel they are launched with. Orbit Fab delivers the fuel and other materials that are needed, where and when they are needed, to enable business models never before thought possible. The company recently announced its first commercial fuel sale to Astroscale, a private orbital debris removal company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.
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.
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.
By Adrienne Alessandro NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
In mid-January, NASA will take the next step in advancing robotic satellite-servicing technologies as it tests the Robotic Refueling Mission, or RRM aboard the International Space Station. The investigation may one day substantially impact the many satellites that deliver products Americans rely upon daily, such as weather reports, cell phones and television news.
During five days of operations, controllers from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will use the space station’s remotely operated Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, robot to simulate robotic refueling in space. Operating a space-based robotic arm from the ground is a feat on its own, but NASA will do more than just robotics work as controllers remotely snip wires, unscrew caps and transfer simulated fuel. The team also will demonstrate tools, technologies and techniques that could one day make satellites in space greener, more robust and more capable of delivering essential services to people on Earth.
Video of the Robotic Refueling Mission. This will be transported to Space Station on STS-135 in July 2011 by the space shuttle Atlantis. It demonstrates technology needed to refuel a satellite in space. From the team that built the hardware to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.
Intelsat Signs Up for Satellite Refueling Service Space News
Satellite fleet operator Intelsat has agreed to be the inaugural customer for a novel system to refuel satellites in orbit being developed by MDA Corp. of Canada, agreeing to purchase one-half of the 2,000 kilograms of fuel that the spacecraft would carry into orbit for other satellites, industry officials said March 14.
NASA will conduct a remote refueling experiment at the International Space Station during the final space shuttle mission set to launch in June. The mission will involve refueling a mock spacecraft remotely from the ground.