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

Wed, 12 Jan 2022 02:01:11 GMT
Space Daily

Denver CO (SPX) Jan 12, 2022 Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space refueling service provider and...

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, has announced a commercial agreement to refuel Astroscale's Life Extension In-Orbit Servicer in geostationary orbit; 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.

"This agreement represents a transformational moment for space sustainability and the on-orbit servicing market," said Ron Lopez, Astroscale U.S. President and 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."

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.

"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, 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.