Xplore Selects Orbit Fab’s RAFTI design standard for its missions from the Earth to the Moon, Mars, Venus and Near-Earth Asteroids
Xplore and Orbit Fab set new standard for reducing propulsion anxiety, extending mission lifetime and increasing mission value
March 05, 2020
March 5, 2020, Seattle, Washington - Xplore Inc., a commercial space company providing Space as a Service® today announced they are integrating the Orbit Fab RAFTI into the Xcraft®, Xplore's highly-capable, multi-mission ESPA-class spacecraft. The RAFTI, which stands for Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface, allows for reliable propellant transfers in the harshest space environments. It is ideal for mission destinations in any orbit, and thus aligns with Xplore’s ability to fly missions at destinations from Earth to the Moon, Mars, Venus, LaGrange points, Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) and other locations in our inner solar system, more than 320 million km (200 million miles) from Earth.
Xcraft® being refueled by Orbit Fab’s RAFTI, credit: Bryan Versteeg, SpaceHabs.com
Xplore is one of the first commercial space companies to integrate Orbit Fab's RAFTI into the design of the Xcraft, and they view this port as an element that furthers commercialization of space exploration and performs the useful function of setting a refueling port standard for the industry.
The RAFTI design will add extended life and maneuverability to all of Xplore's missions, allowing their highly mobile Xcraft satellites to achieve lower than typical lunar orbits, as well as keep them in GEO longer. As a commercial company, they can derive more value out of their orbital assets, all the while setting new standards across the industry.
“Given the Xcraft’s ability to fly in LEO and traverse the inner solar system, Xplore and Orbit Fab together advance opportunities for customers to achieve more mission objectives. When fuel conservation requirements are removed from the equation, in-space refueling eliminates propellant anxiety and allows our Xcraft to maneuver in multiple orbits and perform multiple missions previously out of reach. Re-fueling provides the powerful ability to change our orbit and fly closer to the surface of destinations such as the Moon, Mars, Venus and NEAs, where we can gather even more valuable data from our instruments”, said Lisa Rich, founder and COO of Xplore. This capability expands the services we can perform for customers, as it allows for missions we could not previously conduct given the inherent limitations of onboard propulsion. We expect RAFTI to extend the lifetime of our spacecraft, and add considerable value to our commercial missions.”
Orbit Fab is excited to work with Xplore to augment their future mission capabilities by empowering them with our refueling architecture.— Daniel Faber
“Orbit Fab is excited to work with Xplore to augment their future mission capabilities by empowering them with our refueling architecture. As we supply RAFTI for their spacecraft, we are also working to introduce our fueling port design to as many uses as possible, which will allow RAFTI-enabled assets to improve their utilization and extend mission capabilities,” stated Daniel Faber, co-founder and CEO of Orbit Fab.
The docking and refueling standards that this partnership will reinforce help to drive the industry forward toward rapid growth and improved operational performance. Orbit Fab and Xplore's aligned strategies will foster growth for other companies in the commercial space sector who adapt the standard for effective propellant transfer.
Xplore is a Seattle-based commercial deep space company offering Space as a Service®. Xplore provides hosted payloads, communication relay services and exclusive datasets to its customers via a fleet of networked multi-mission spacecraft.
The mission of Xplore is to expand robotic exploration via commercial missions at and beyond Earth, to the Moon, Mars, Venus, Lagrange Points and near-Earth asteroids in the inner solar system. Xplore provides hosted payload services for scientific instruments and technology demonstrations for national space agencies, national security agencies, sovereign space agencies and universities. Visit: https://www.xplore.com
About Orbit Fab
Established in 2018, Orbit Fab is a San Francisco-based company that is building a propellant supply chain in space, allowing customers to reduce the capital costs of their business by up to half, and enabling unprecedented business model flexibility for satellite operators.
The mission of Orbit Fab is to enable unlimited mobility in space by introducing the ability to refuel on-orbit for satellites and spacecraft. Orbit Fab provides this capability through its RAFTI fueling port and a network of propellant depots in various orbits and inclinations. This valuable capability will expand the operational potential of existing space assets, and enable entirely new product and mission concepts for government agencies and commercial companies alike. Visit: https://www.orbitfab.spaceBack to Press