🦄 Unicorner Startup of the Week: Orbit Fab
✍️ Notes from the Editors
We’re no strangers to space tech, but we’ve inadvertently put some space between us and the industry. In March, we covered Charter Space. After attending a number of aerospace events during LA Tech Week, it’s time to dive back in with this deep dive on Orbit Fab.
Also: we’re giving away a $100 Amazon gift card.
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Orbit Fab enables satellites and other spacecraft to be refueled in space. Its main product is the Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface, or RAFTI, which is an interface designed to seamlessly integrate with satellites and spacecraft, allowing the vehicles to dock and refuel mid-flight. It also offers UMPIRE, a mission planning software that calculates the safest and most cost-efficient ways to refuel during a flight.
💰 Business Model
After setting up a RAFTI connection and onboarding to the UMPIRE software, clients can directly buy fuel from Orbit Fab.
📈 Traction and Fundraising
Raised $28.5 million Series A from investors like Tribe Capital, Techstars, Stride Capital, 8090 Industries, Massive Capital Partners, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Good Growth Capital, and Industrious Ventures
Over $21 million in United States Department of Defense contracts secured
As of April of 2023, four refueling missions have already been planned, including three for the U.S. Department of Defense
Prior to becoming Co-Founder and CEO of Orbit Fab, Daniel was CEO at Deep Space Industries, a space startup with long-term plans for in-space resource extraction (asteroid mining). He holds over twenty years of experience in space engineering and project management, and has an MBA from UCLA and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New South Wales.
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🔮 Our Analysis
Headquartered in Colorado, Orbit Fab envisions a bold future for space operations. Traditional satellite operations are constrained by their initial fuel load, determining their operational lifespan and often leading to increased costs. Orbit Fab’s ultimate solution? A network of orbital refueling stations. The company’s innovative approach seeks to extend the lifespan of space missions, with plans to deliver hydrazine (a rocket propellant) to geostationary satellites starting in 2025. This service, combined with its unique refueling port, the RAFTI, can potentially revolutionize satellite servicing missions, in-space assembly, and other complex maneuvers.
The company's growth trajectory is evident in its secured contracts. Furthermore, Orbit Fab's collaborations, such as the one refueling the fleet of Astroscale (a leader in active debris removal), and its team expansion underscore its rising prominence in the world of space. As the company grows, both satellites and leaders in the space industry find themselves drawn into Orbit Fab's trajectory.
📚 Further Reading
💰 Gift Card Giveaway
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