Orbion and Xplore Partner to Accelerate Deep Space Exploration

By combining their best-in-class technology with novel manufacturing techniques, Orbion and Xplore will enable customers to launch deep space missions more rapidly and at lower cost.

March 06, 2020

March 6, 2020 — Houghton, MI - — Orbion Space Technology, developer of next-generation smallsat propulsion systems, today announced a partnership with Xplore Inc., a commercial space company providing Space as a Service®. Orbion will build and deliver its plasma propulsion system to Xplore over the next six years.

Xplore Orbion

Xplore’s Xcraft™ at the Moon, credit: Bryan Versteeg, SpaceHabs.com

By innovating the manufacturing process to achieve new high-volume production standards, Orbion and Xplore will deliver the efficiency and affordability necessary to accelerate launch cadence for deep space exploration. This partnership comes on the heels of Xplore announcing its plans to commercialize the inner solar system, for which the company has been rigorously developing its platform and multi-mission Xcraft™ -- an ESPA-class space vehicle, whose first Moon Xpedition™ is planned for 2021. The Xcraft is exquisitely designed for space travel, and Orbion’s Aurora Hall-effect propulsion system will be key to sending orbital missions to the Moon, Mars, Venus, and beyond.

Both Orbion and Xplore are implementing unique, end-to-end manufacturing techniques into their production models to reduce cost and development times while preserving the high reliability needed for challenging deep space missions. The manufacturing techniques integrate assembly-line production and robotic acceptance testing perfected in high-volume production environments. This concerted approach will unlock unprecedented levels of speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness in producing and launching space missions to Earth orbit and beyond.

Xplore’s commercial model for space provides increased flight opportunities to destinations in the inner solar system. Lisa Rich, Founder and COO of Xplore Inc., said, "Together with Orbion, we share the strategic vision of introducing efficiencies, modularity, repeatability, and high-quality manufacturing processes wherever possible to consistently and reliably produce our high-performance Xcraft. We will fly at an increased cadence to meet and exceed the demands of our growing customer base."

Private launch companies... can carry spacecraft on the 300-mile journey from Earth to orbit for a fraction of the cost of legacy rockets - opening up space for business.

— Dr. Brad King

“Private launch companies such as SpaceX and Rocket Lab have shown that they can carry spacecraft on the 300-mile journey from Earth to orbit for a fraction of the cost of legacy rockets--opening space up for business. Orbion’s plasma thrusters can take over from there and transport Xplore’s spacecraft through the ‘last 20 million miles’ to their destination,” said Dr. Brad King, CEO of Orbion Space Technology. “We are honored that Xplore has put their trust in our technology for this demanding and exciting journey.”

For more information about Orbion, please visit https://www.orbionspace.com.
For more information about Xplore, please visit https://www.xplore.com.

About Orbion Space Technology

Orbion Space Technology develops revolutionary propulsion systems that allow small satellites to achieve more in space environments, including the first-ever Hall-effect plasma thruster designed expressly for mass production. Orbion not only designs and develops these systems, but also innovates novel techniques and processes for mass-manufacture to meet the rising demands of NewSpace customers. The team brings a wealth of expertise across areas such as plasma thrusters, space electronics, orbital mechanics, manufacturing, and space business. For more information, please visit https://www.orbionspace.com.

About Xplore

Established in 2017, Xplore is a Seattle-based commercial 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 beyond Earth via commercial missions 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.

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