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Astroscale signed a $25.5 million agreement with the US Space Force to design and supply a satellite for refueling military spaceships

Astroscale's solution will help overcome the limitations that result from the fact that satellites are currently launched into space with a limited supply of fuel. "the satellite APS-R Ours opens the door to rethinking the way satellites are designed and operated, and it marks a significant leap forward in the capabilities and sustainability of satellites in orbit."

Refueling in space. Infographic courtesy of Astroscale
Refueling in space. Infographic courtesy of Astroscale

Astroscale USA, the market leader in satellite service and logistics in space, signed an agreement with the US Space Force (USSF) in the amount of 25.5 million dollars to design and supply to the force a dedicated satellite whose role is to refuel satellites that have run out of fuel in space. A prototype of the new satellite - APS-R - which is designed as a standard satellite whose size will not exceed the size of a standard gas pump, will be delivered in 2026. The US Space Force is a body of the US military that focuses on activities in space. This is the first new wing since the establishment of the independent US Air Force in 1947. The body was organized as a military service in the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments in the Department of Defense.

"The possibility of refueling in the air has completely changed the equation regarding the duration and distance of the missions faced by aircraft," said the president and CEO of Astroscale USA, Ron Lopez. "The space industry is on the brink of a similar technological revolution in the possibility of refueling in outer space. I am excited that we have been selected for the task of developing a satellite whose role is to refuel satellites that have run out of fuel. The innovation in this service will ultimately increase the range and mobility of satellites in orbit, allowing the USSF to do more with their operational assets. Our APS-R satellite opens the door to rethinking the way satellites are designed and operated, and it marks a significant leap forward in the capabilities and sustainability of satellites in space.”

According to him, APS-R will carry and transfer hydrazine fuel to the "customer" spacecraft, instead of it having to maneuver towards a refueling site, a fact that will allow its operation to continue without interruption. He noted that the project is financed by a public-private partnership, with 25.5 million dollars coming from the USSF and about 12 million dollars will be provided by Astroscale USA and the company's partners and suppliers.

"The choice of Astroscale to develop the APS-R marks a significant moment in the advancement of our space mobility and logistics capabilities," said Colonel  Joyce Bolson,  from USSF. "Astroscale's innovative approach is consistent with the Space Force's commitment to remain at the forefront of technological advancement. With the new satellite we are not only extending the operational life of satellites; We improve our responsiveness, flexibility and overall mission capabilities. This collaboration marks a bold step forward in our efforts to secure and strengthen the US Space Force's position in the ever-evolving field of space, reinforcing our commitment to innovation and ensuring the sustainability of our space assets."

"Our commitment to promoting sustainability and mobility in space is unwavering," said Lopez. "Together with the US military, we are shaping the future of service in space orbit, significantly increasing the reach of satellites and enabling the US space force to navigate the complexity of space with flexibility, efficiency and improved capability. We are talking here not only about extending the life of satellites but about expanding the possibilities of what we can achieve in space. We are proud to be at the forefront of this transformative effort and drive the space industry into a new era of innovation and exploration."

"The company, which is active from Israel, the USA, Japan, Singapore and the UK, brings to the market smart solutions to the problem of 'ceasing life' for malfunctioning satellites, or those that have run out of fuel", Says Ofir Azriel, CEO of Astroscale Israel. "The company is a pioneer in its field, the demand for our solutions is increasing and the preparation in Israel is accordingly. In the present case there is a departure from the traditional and restrictive concept of single-use spacecraft. We change the equation.'

Astroscale Israel's activity is currently focused on the design, manufacture and assembly of space systems for tasks of approach and docking between satellites and service tasks for satellites in space. The final products will be integrated into Astroscale's service satellites.

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