Technology: Orbit Fab becomes first startup to supply water to ISS, paving the way for satellite refueling - PressFrom - US
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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 envisions a thriving in- space market for products and services that support both existing space businesses The first step is achieving ubiquitous availability of satellite propellant in Earth Orbit , expanding the operational potential of new Orbit Fab wins " Startup Space " at Satellite 2019!

The satellite refueling system of SSL, one of the companies racing to launch life extension After the fuel is used they cannot actually keep their orbit position and they start to drift, they lose Effective Space calls its refuelling system a space drone and Halsband likens it to a jetpack for satellites . The way to think about is they were built and they were fuelled by humans with human-sized tools."

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.

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Orbit Fab ’s mission next year will be done in partnership with NASA, although they haven’t yet released details on what the mission will entail. It does look like satellite servicing and refueling may become quite a big deal in the coming years, not only for satellites in Earth orbit but for missions in deep

The news: Startup Orbit Fab is scheduled to launch an experiment to the International Space Station on board a SpaceX Dragon cargo mission The challenge: Refueling and repairing satellites in space requires some expert wrangling, as well as well as the launch of large quantities and types of

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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