The Space Force (USSF) has signed on as one of the very first customers of a gas station in space.
This week, tank company in space job Fab won a $13.3 million USSF contract to gasify geostationary (GEO) military satellites from 2025. Under the four-year contract, first reported by BloombergColorado-based space startup will provide hydrazine propellant to at least one Space Force satellite in GEO.
If you build it they will come
Jeremy Schiel, co-founder and chief development officer of Orbit Fab, says he expects the buy-in from the Department of Defense to boost the company’s credibility in the commercial market.
“This is another focus to show the commercial sector that the government is buying Orbit Fab’s services,” he says. ‘We get risks. . . and it’s less likely that we won’t be there in five to ten years. . . That makes it easier to work with Orbit Fab.”
Founded in 2018, Orbit Fab signed its first tank contract with Astroscale US in January. It received $12 million in March for its patented RAFTIA tank port to military satellites.
Logistics is critical to national security on the ground. It’s no different in space, where mission requirements or maneuvering around debris can force critical satellites to burn precious fuel and shorten their lifespans.
“If we can get fuel as a service, we don’t have to build the infrastructure in orbit and we can focus on protecting the satellites,” said Colonel Joseph Roth, the director of innovation and prototyping at US Space. systems command, Space news in April.
Imagine all use cases
Schiel says refueling in orbit has implications beyond lifespan extension, including allowing a construction vehicle to assemble orbiting assets too large to fit on a rocket in one piece.
“In my mind, everything follows the refueling,” says Schiel. “The economy can only grow if you have a cheap and reliable fuel source that allows you to reuse assets you already have, like on Earth.”
This story originally appeared On payload and is republished here with permission.