Orbit Fab announced yesterday that it closed a $28.5M Series A to accelerate bringing its on-orbit refueling depot tech, i.e., gas stations in space, to market. 8090 Industries led the company’s Series A, with participation from Stride Capital, Industrious Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Tribe Capital, Good Growth Capital, and Massive Capital Partners.
At the same time, the company said it clinched an additional $21M in defense contracts to demo its on-orbit refueling capabilities, as well as tens of millions more in commercial contracts.
Orbit Fab 101: The Colorado-based company is aiming to enable satellite life extension for a new era of the space industry, where reusability and longevity are king.
- The company is selling RAFTI, a small fueling port, to customers to incorporate into their spacecraft to enable future refueling.
- Orbit Fab is currently pricing up to 100 kg of hydrazine at $20M.
“If you don’t have a reusable rocket, you’re not in the rocket industry anymore,” CEO Daniel Faber told Payload. “Similarly, with satellites, now we’re seeing that paradigm shift. And if you haven’t got a refuelable satellite, and it’s not reusable, then pretty soon you’re not going to be in the satellite industry.”
The company has so far demonstrated its tech on the ISS, deployed a fuel depot in space, and booked four more launches in the next three years. In the short term, this new batch of funding will speed up deployment of fueling depots and storage infrastructure from VLEO to GEO, as well as enable the company to scale up sales.
“We’re no strangers to going quickly,” Faber said. “Now that we are shipping fueling ports, the demand is increasing.”
The contracts: In addition to the funding round, Orbit Fab also announced it has expanded its relationship with US government customers with another $21M across three defense contracts. Those missions include:
- A SpaceWERX contract to demonstrate proximity and rendezvous ops
- A DIU award to demonstrate hydrazine refueling with USSF sats in GEO
- A STRATFI initiative mission for developing docking depots
Growing up quickly: In the past year, the company has doubled its headcount, and currently employs ~60 people. That scaling has been “a direct response to the demand we’ve seen,” Faber said.
- Over the next year, the company is looking to add 25 people.
Looking ahead: “We’ve set ourselves up as a fuel supplier,” Faber said. “Our long term vision is to become an industrial gases company in orbit.”