ispace and Orbit Fab announced an agreement to collaborate on in-space propellant harvesting and delivery for future missions to the Moon.
The ispace-Orbit Fab partnership will leverage each company’s unique and complementary capabilities to develop effective propellants and fuels from resources in space, such as water, ice, and lunar regolith or fine and rocky soils found on the surface of the Moon.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU), signed by ispace, inc., ispace EUROPE S.A., ispace technologies US, inc., Orbit Fab, Inc. and Orbit, Ltd., sets the stage for a series of innovative demonstrations, including resource mapping and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) missions aimed at drastically reducing the reliance on supplies from Earth.
The companies ultimately plan for Orbit Fab to refuel ispace lunar landers, as they travel through space to extend lunar and cislunar missions.
To promote a sustainable lunar economy, the two companies have agreed to steward and demonstrate new ways of managing lunar resources for the benefit of all humanity. Orbit Fab is deploying its RAFTI™ (Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface) refueling ports aboard a growing number of government and commercial spacecraft, enabling the safe and secure replenishment of satellites, lunar landers, and other vehicles as they run low on fuel. ispace expects to play a pivotal role in procuring propellants in space to power Orbit Fab’s fuel shuttles and depots on cislunar and lunar missions.
“Creating a supply chain to utilize space resources on the Moon and in orbit is an essential step in realizing ispace's vision of "Expand our Planet. Expand our Future.,” said Takeshi Hakamada, CEO & Founder of ispace. “We are pleased to be working with Orbit Fab as a step in this direction. I am confident that our collective efforts will lead to positive steps toward long-term lunar development and the creation of the cislunar economy.”
“This exciting collaborative agreement between ispace and Orbit Fab is truly dedicated to building and enabling a sustainable and bustling lunar economy,” said Daniel Faber, Orbit Fab Founder and CEO. “This partnership is keenly focused on extending the life of critical operations like ispace’s lunar lander missions by utilizing in-space resources to refuel and support the reusability of satellites and other vehicles for years in space.”
ispace is leveraging its global presence through its three offices in Japan (Headquarters), US, and Luxembourg, for the simultaneous development of Mission 2, scheduled for launch in 2024, led by its headquarters office, and Mission 3, scheduled for launch in 2026, by its US office.
Orbit Fab’s in-space fuel shuttles and depots will allow satellite and mission operators to launch smaller, more powerful satellites that can get to revenue-generating orbits faster and more cost effectively since fuel is no longer a constraint. Orbit Fab has contracts and collaborative agreements in place to develop and deliver chemical, electric, and green propellants to support and enable dynamic space operations, satellite servicing, and extended missions aboard a broad range of spacecraft in geosynchronous (GEO), low earth (LEO), and VLEO.