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TechnologyOrbit Fab becomes first startup to supply water to ISS, paving the way for satellite refueling

19:05  18 june  2019
19:05  18 june  2019 Source:   techcrunch.com

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Orbit Fab is working toward establishing standards for satellite refueling interfaces to be used in orbital hardware, which could go a long way toward making it common practice to develop reusable satellites , instead of sticking with the more or less disposable hardware model used today.

The technology Orbit Fab developed and demonstrated has broader applications than just moving water around in space . Water was used in this example specifically Orbit Fab is working towards establish standard for satellite refueling interfaces to be used in orbital hardware, which could go a

Orbit Fab becomes first startup to supply water to ISS, paving the way for satellite refueling© @OrbitFab/Twitter

Not even two years into its existence, orbital fuel supply startup Orbit Fab has chalked up a big win – successfully supplying the International Space Station with water, a first for any private company. It's a big deal because providing water to the ISS involved a multi-day refueling process, done in microgravity, using processes and equipment Orbit Fab developed itself.

The key ingredient here, per ISS U.S. National Laboratory COO Kenneth Shields, which was the contracting agency for Orbit Fab's refueling test, is that this method of resupply is totally out of spec in terms of how this process was designed to work on the ISS. By creating and successfully demonstrating a system that the ISS designers never conceived, Orbit Fab has shown that both private companies and NASA have the flexibility needed to build business models on existing space infrastructure.

New space race to bring satellite internet to the world

New space race to bring satellite internet to the world Anxiety has set in across the space industry ever since the world's richest man, Jeff Bezos, revealed Project Kuiper: a plan to put 3,236 satellites in orbit to provide high-speed internet across the globe. Offering broadband internet coverage to digital deserts is also the goal of the company OneWeb, which is set to start building two satellites a day this summer in Florida, for a constellation of over 600 expected to be operational by 2021 Billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX is equally active: it's just received a clearance to put 12,000 satellites in orbit at various altitudes in the Starlink constellation.

Orbit Fab becomes first startup to supply water to ISS , paving the way for satellite refueling . Not even two years into its existence, orbital fuel supply startup Orbit Fab has chalked up a big win — successfully supplying the International Space Station with water , a first for any private.

FCC approves SpaceX’s plans to fly internet-beaming satellites in a lower orbit . Changing the destination for more than 1 ,500 satellites . Orbit Fab envisions a thriving in- space market for products and services that support both existing space businesses The first step is achieving ubiquitous

The technology Orbit Fab developed and demonstrated has broader applications than just moving water around in space. Water was used in this example specifically because it's one of the most inert propellants used in spaceflight thrusters, but the methods could extend to other common propellants, and make it possible to refuel satellites in orbit. Orbit Fab is working towards establish standard for satellite refueling interfaces to be used in orbital hardware, which could go a long way towards making it common practice to develop reusable satellites, instead of sticking with the more or less disposable hardware model used today.

Startups like Orbit Fab are the key to unlocking true commercialization of space, by identifying points in the value chain where innovation or improvement can lead to cost or resource efficiencies and ensure that space business is actually also viable business, in terms of profit potential.

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