Orbit Fab has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Space Vehicle Directorate of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to advance on-orbit refueling technology for the lab’s Spacecraft Technology Division.
The company said Wednesday that under the CRADA collaboration, it will share its hardware products, including its Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface as well as its cooperative docking guidance strategy with the Air Force, which will review these technologies, advise on requirements and provide its facilities for use in the company’s performance and qualification goals.
“This is a key strategic opportunity for the AFRL to be able to benefit from increasing the reusability of our space assets through knowledge exchange with Orbit Fab,” said Karl Stolleis, program manager for ARFL.
The partnership is expected to result in Orbit Fab offering satellite refueling services to Department of Defense space assets and bringing on-orbit refueling products to market for defense and commercial customers.
Orbit Fab CEO Daniel Faber said, “Iterating on our cooperative Rendezvous Proximity Operations and Docking guidance solution with the AFRL is a valuable step in our vision to see Orbit Fab as the primary distributor of in-orbit propellant for both commercial and defense partners.”
Work under the agreement will build upon Orbit Fab’s previous $3 million program to flight qualify the RAFTI service valve for the Air Force.
Recently, Orbit Fab received investments from Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, among others, to support the launch of its on-orbit fueling depot, Tenzing.