In The News

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Astroscale U.S. and Orbit Fab sign first on-orbit satellite fuel sale agreement

Astroscale and Orbit Fab break the single-use satellite paradigm with the first purchase of    Gas Stations in Space™ refueling services.

Jan. 11, 2022, DENVER — 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.

Under the terms of this initial agreement, Orbit Fab’s GEO fuel shuttle will resupply Astroscale’s fleet of LEXI Servicers with up to 1,000 kilograms of Xenon propellant. With this purchase, Astroscale has greatly expanded LEXI’s scope and flexibility to perform on-orbit servicing missions — a benefit for every customer. 

“This agreement represents a transformational moment for space sustainability and the on-orbit servicing market,” said Ron Lopez, Astroscale U.S. President & Managing Director. “Astroscale and Orbit Fab are strengthening the value proposition for GEO life extension customers, driving new business models between on-orbit servicing companies in the space ecosystem and making orbital operations more sustainable.”

Astroscale’s LEXI spacecraft is slated to launch to GEO by 2026, where it will perform life extension services for commercial operators, the U.S government and partner governments around the world. LEXI’s key services for customers include station keeping and attitude control, momentum management, inclination correction, GEO relocation and retirement to graveyard orbit. Astroscale U.S. is working with Orbit Fab to integrate its Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface, or RAFTI, into the LEXI Servicer to provide refueling capability alongside the company’s ongoing work to develop LEXI’s rendezvous and docking payload technology.  

“This is a historic moment for the space industry, showing the clear and immediate need for on-orbit fueling,” Orbit Fab CEO Daniel Faber said. “We have partnered with Astroscale to facilitate the growth of the emerging satellite servicing sector by showing clear demand for satellite servicing and the refueling of those servicing assets. This take-or-pay contract is the first of its kind for the space industry. We can monetize a portion of our contracts before we make delivery to our customers, allowing us to quickly build out our network of tankers and shuttles. This is our commitment to Astroscale that we will deliver the fuel for a fixed price, and their commitment to buy that fuel.”

Orbit Fab expects to deploy dozens of fuel tankers and shuttles in the next 5 to 10 years, positioning them in proximity to customer satellite constellations in low Earth orbit (LEO), GEO and cislunar space. Astroscale and Orbit Fab are exploring additional opportunities to expand the on-orbit servicing market, including trans ferring fuel from tankers directly to operational satellites. Orbit Fab’s first two fuel shuttles will be commissioned in LEO in 2023.

About Astroscale U.S. 

Astroscale U.S. Inc. provides on-orbit services and logistics across all orbits for commercial operators, the U.S. government and partner governments around the world. Astroscale U.S. is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astroscale Holdings Inc., the first private company with a vision to secure the safe and sustainable development of space for the benefit of future generations, and the only company solely dedicated to on-orbit services across all orbits. Astroscale Israel Ltd., based in Tel Aviv, is a subsidiary of and serves as the research and payload development team for Astroscale U.S. Astroscale U.S. leverages the best of investments and developments made by Astroscale engineering, policy and business teams domestically and in Japan, the United Kingdom and Israel to provide flexibility and value for space operations in the U.S. and partner nations.  

Learn more about Astroscale U.S. at www.astroscale-us.com  

About Orbit Fab

Orbit Fab is building a bustling in-space economy, beginning with a propellant supply chain. The company’s Gas Stations in Space™ services create a bridge between Earth and space, providing satellite owners with the necessary propellant to extend mission time, travel across orbits, and even return to Earth. World-firsts include the first commercially available satellite refueling port RAFTI, the first in-orbit fuel depot, and the first resupply of water to the International Space Station by a private company. Orbit Fab is backed by key industry leaders and major investors including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, SpaceFund, Bolt, Munich Re Ventures, and more. Visit orbitfab.com for more information.

Connect with Orbit Fab on Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

Media Contacts 

Astroscale U.S. & Israel | Krystal Scordo, k.scordo@astroscale-us.com, +1.303.249.4765 

Orbit Fab | Jeremy Schiel, jeremy@orbitfab.com, +1.810.623.4973

Hands-On at Ball Aerospace

HANDS-ON AT BALL AEROSPACE

AN INTERNSHIP WITH THE COLORADO-BASED SPACECRAFT MAKER PUT STEVEN FINCH ON THE PATH TO A SUCCESSFUL CAREER. IT ALSO SAVED THE COMPANY MORE THAN $1 MILLION.

December 6, 2021

By Doug McPherson

Steven Finch knew when he landed a mechanical-engineering internship at Ball Aerospace, Colorado’s renowned spacecraft maker, it would be amazing. He couldn’t have imagined that his first assignment would lead to a new product design that would save the company more than $1 million.

Finch, a senior majoring in Advanced Manufacturing at Metropolitan State University of Denver, credits his engineering-laboratory experience with giving him the tools he needed to immediately contribute.

“MSU Denver has given me a lot of hands-on learning opportunities,” he said. “Honestly, it’s one of the best things about the University. Instead of just theory, I was exposed to actual machines and processes that I know I’ll be using in the future. Without all of that, I would have had a much more difficult time at Ball.”

Read the full story at RED.MSUDenver.edu.

Coloradan Nichole Ayers Chosen For NASA’s New Astronaut Candidate Class

(CBS4) – NASA has selected a 32-year-old woman who calls Colorado home as one of 10 new astronauts as it looks ahead to the moon and Mars. The space agency on Monday introduced Nichole Ayers along with three other woman and six men during a ceremony at Ellington Field in Houston, home to Mission Control and the astronaut corps. (see more)

Welcome New Corporate Members

Caliola Engineering was founded by President Jennifer Halford to make distributed wireless security more accessible for demanding customers in national security and first responder markets. Pioneers in waveform customization and systems integration, Caliola is pleased to join CSBR.

Notes From The Chair

Greetings CSBR members and community! I am excited to continue to lead the Colorado Space Business Roundtable.  The CSBR Board of Directors and Advisory Board members are committed to connecting and advancing Colorado aerospace. Through our commitment we offer you opportunities to grow your business, network with individuals in all aspects of the industry, and become part of the strong network of support in Colorado.  

2020 gave us a new perspective on how we support each other as an industry, community and society. 2021 is showing some promise of light at the end of the tunnel, despite a rocky start. The news of the selection of Huntsville, Alabama as Space Command Headquarters was a shock.  Our Colorado Aerospace community, including CSBR, has banded together to challenge that last minute political decision and has been successful in demanding a review of the decision. We anxiously await the outcome of the review. Colorado’s US Senate representative, Senator John Hickenlooper, has been selected to chair the new senate subcommittee on Science and Space which is part of the US. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation. This news continues to support our state’s efforts to be a strong voice in the future policies of our United States space efforts. 

This year, we look forward to growing the Colorado aerospace community. Advancing the mission and business of space exploration throughout the state of Colorado is a key objective. This newsletter will be one part of this collaborative effort.  I hope you will enjoy the new format of our newsletter as new features such as business news, member profiles and job listings will encourage engagement in our community.

Engage, Connect, and Thrive!

Alires Almon
Chair, Colorado Space Business Roundtable

York Space Systems Opens Up New Manufacturing Facility

York Space Systems announced the opening May 19 of its new manufacturing facility in Denver, a key step in the firm’s campaign to expand mass manufacturing of small satellites.

Since York was founded in 2015, company leaders have shared their goal of making satellites more like consumer electronics, which tend to become increasingly capable and inexpensive thanks to miniaturization and mass production.

“This year, we will improve the performance and the price is going to come down,” York Executive Chairman Chuck Beames told SpaceNews. “Our platform is becoming much more capable.”

Ball Aerospace donates $100,000 to Hunger-Free Colorado

Ball Aerospace, a subsidiary of Ball Corporation, donated $100,000 to support Hunger Free Colorado’s COVID-19 pandemic response. This generous donation will support Hunger Free Colorado in helping the increasing number of Coloradans suffering from economic loss, as a result of COVID-19, by connecting them to nutritious food and crucial federal nutrition programs.

Welcome New CSBR Members!

Last year, Japanese company Astroscale announced its selection of Denver, Colorado as its US headquarters. Astroscale is one of the few companies in the world proposing to aid in the removal of orbital debris through the provision of End of Life (EOL) and Active Debris Removal (ADR) services.

We are now proud to welcome them not only as a member of the Colorado space ecosystem, but also as a new member of CSBR!

Avocet Communications, led by President Lori Jones, has come on board as our new communications partner. With over 40 years experience in the Colorado marketspace, Avocet bring a world of experience, energy and enthusiasm to CSBR and our brand. We look forward to working with them.