Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space™ company, and Dawn Aerospace, a space-transportation company, today announced a collaboration to make on-orbit refueling available to satellites utilizing nitrous oxide and propylene (N2O and C3H6).

Orbit Fab, a Californian company offering a refueling service in space, developed a port known as RAFTI (Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface), which is being offered to government and commercial satellites and was recently made available under an open license. RAFTI fueling ports will be an option for Dawn customers from mid-2022.

Dawn provides in-space propulsion systems to customers globally using a unique combination of green propellants. Nitrous oxide and propylene are available from domestic industrial gas suppliers and are not subject to complex export controls. Having proven this technology on-orbit for both CubeSats and small satellites, Dawn propulsion systems have now flown on Vega, Falcon 9, and Soyuz launch vehicles. The company recently announced more than 100 thrusters are in production for a series of commercial satellites.

The collaboration was announced today at the Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany by Daniel Faber, Orbit Fab CEO, and Jeroen Wink, Dawn CRO.

“We know that prolonging the life of satellites is key in growing the space industry sustainably – both environmentally and economically,” said Jeroen Wink, Dawn CRO. In geostationary orbits, refueling can extend a satellite’s operational life by years, where each additional year is worth upward of $50 million additional revenue. We see this partnership with Orbit Fab as part of Dawn’s broader commitment to growing on-orbit capability and infrastructure.”

“For a bustling in-space economy, we need to provide the right fuel in orbit to support all missions,” said Daniel Faber, Orbit Fab CEO. This partnership is important for us as the propellant combination that Dawn has pioneered has significant advantages for certain mission profiles.”

A materials study to demonstrate the compatibility of Dawn propellants and the RAFTI ports has been completed and qualification is in progress.

Dawn also recently announced it had joined Orbit Fab as a member of CONFERS (The Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations) – an industry-led initiative that aims to leverage best practices to form technical and operational standards for rendezvous and proximity operations, and on-orbit servicing.

About Orbit Fab 

Orbit Fab believes a bustling in-space economy is a precondition to permanent jobs in space. By providing a ubiquitous supply of satellite propellant in Earth Orbit (branded Gas Stations in SpaceTM), the company improves existing space business models (communications and Earth observation) and helps open new industries like space tourism, manufacturing and mining. Orbit Fab has racked up a number of world-firsts: the first-ever commercially available in-space refueling port (RAFTITM), the first ever private company to resupply the International Space Station with water, and the first ever satellite fuel depot.

The future for satellites is no longer restricted to the fuel they are launched with. Orbit Fab delivers the fuel and other materials that are needed, where and when they are needed, to enable business models never before thought possible. The company recently announced that it is moving its headquarters to Colorado.

About Dawn Aerospace 

Dawn Aerospace, based in both the Netherlands and New Zealand, is a space transportation company providing in-space satellite propulsion to its customers globally and developing a same-day reusable spaceplane.

The company has achieved a series of significant milestones in the past 12 months, including launching 15 propulsion units to space from Europe, the USA, and Russia, significant funding from tech investment firm – Movac, and the successful first flights of the suborbital spaceplane, the Dawn Mk-II Aurora.

Twitter @DawnAerospace
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