Orbit Fab Starts Shipping RAFTI Ports

Image: Orbit Fab

Orbit Fab’s RAFTI satellite fueling ports have officially been qualified, and the hardware is beginning to ship to customers, two senior leaders at the startup told Payload. 

Signed, sealed, delivered: “Dozens” of ports, which cost $30K each, are shipping out over the next couple weeks as the first batch of hardware is sent to early customers in the US, Japan, and the UK, including the Space Force and Astroscale, Adam Harris, the company’s chief commercial officer, said.  

One of its first missions will be to refuel the Space Force’s Tetra-5 satellite. RAFTI ports will be integrated on those spacecraft next month ahead of a planned launch in 2025, ADAM said. 

Down to Earth: The company also announced its new RAFTI Ground Coupling infrastructure, which will ensure the port can be used for initial operations to fuel-up on Earth, while also leaving open the option to gas up in orbit. 

“It’s ready to go, whether you want to use it in space or not,” Orbit Fab CEO Daniel Faber, said. “There’s so many reasons to use it, no reasons not to. Let’s stop putting preordained junk into space.”

What’s next: Orbit Fab plans to ship 100 RAFTIs this year. Product volume in the future will depend on demand, Harris said, but the company has already begun discussions with manufacturers who could build and sell ports using their open licensing info.

“Our business isn’t really geared towards being a RAFTI supplier,” he said. “Our business is, let’s do whatever we can to get those RAFTIs on spacecraft, and then we want to grow our business around the refueling operations.”

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