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Orbit Fab to Work With USAF on Space Refueling Port Development

Space hardware


Orbit Fab to Work With USAF on Space Refueling Port Development

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded space-based refueling solutions provider Orbit Fab a cooperative research and development agreement to provide more information about the company’s space refueling port.

Under the CRADA, Orbit Fab will share details about its Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface while the Air Force will advise on requirements and designs for the technology. USAF will also make its facilities available for testing and qualification. The venture-funded startup company said the technology sharing agreement would allow it to ramp up development and marketing for defense and commercial users, SpaceNews reported Thursday.

The company deployed its first fuel depot, dubbed Tenzing, on June 30. According to Orbit Fab, Tenzing is the world’s first operational fuel depot. It stores less than 100 pounds of high-test peroxide and operates in a sun-synchronous orbit to refuel other spacecraft.

The space hardware manufacturer plans to launch a larger tanker to geostationary orbit. According to company CEO Daniel Faber, the larger tanker will carry over 200 pounds of hydrazine and would fuel spacecraft in the GEO space for up to 15 years. The GEO tanker launch is slated for late 2022 or early 2023 and will be loaded onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 lunar lander.

Orbit Fab received $3 million in contracts from the Air Force to flight-qualify the RAFTI refueling port.

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Category: Space