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  • Satellite Evolution Group

Orbit Fab appoints Chief Operating Officer, boosts production and test capacity

Orbit Fab announced it has named industry veteran Shawn Hendricks as the company’s first Chief Operating Officer. Hendricks will lead the ramp up of Orbit Fab’s internal production and testing capabilities to meet growing demand for the RAFTI™ refueling port and other in-space fueling systems designed to enable dynamic space operations and sustain the bustling space economy.

“As we intensify our laser focus on the mission of in-space fuel supply that will revolutionize the space industry, Orbit Fab is thrilled to have Shawn Hendricks, with his rare skillset, join our team as we ramp up production. We will lean on his expertise in both big and small space system architectures and nearly two decades of leading manufacturing and production quality processes and aircraft development with the Navy,” said Daniel Faber, Orbit Fab CEO. “Shawn’s vast corporate and government experience is exactly what we need to lead our efforts to increase production of our refueling systems. Shawn’s insight has already proven invaluable as we optimize operations to ensure sustained quality across our solutions suite bound to enable vital commercial and government missions in every corner of space.”

Orbit Fab is adding new, exceptional technical talent to its accomplished engineering team to develop and deliver the lowest cost, highest availability refueling services and systems in space. The company’s RAFTI in-space refueling port and other key solutions are in demand among defense, government and commercial organizations that need to extend their multi-faceted, multi-orbit missions in space. The company is on track to become a leading provider of propellants and fuels in space, already the first to ink a fuel delivery agreement with the Department of Defense for hydrazine in GEO.

“Orbit Fab’s exciting and aggressive development and delivery roadmap reflects the urgent need for sustainable refueling capabilities for rapidly emerging government, defense, and commercial missions in space. I’m extremely honored to join the company as its first chief operating officer and bring my enthusiasm and unique perspective to help Orbit Fab extend its leadership in space refueling,” said Shawn Hendricks, Orbit Fab COO.

Orbit Fab has completed the installations of a state-of-the-art clean room and electronics lab at the company’s headquarters in Lafayette, Colorado. The clean room will be used for valve and fluid system assembly and other flight component integration. The electronics lab will enable a new level of flight electronics development, testing and production. Orbit Fab’s enhanced manufacturing and test facilities will be available to space companies and startups who are also based in the Tycho Station ecosystem in Lafayette.

Hendricks will manage the firm’s new build and test capabilities to meet extremely strong satellite refueling demand from government and commercial markets. He notes the timing is just right, “as Orbit Fab is well into the transition from the development of innovative refueling systems and services to the production of highly reliable refueling ports, depots and shuttles that support critical commercial and government missions throughout space.”

Prior to Orbit Fab, Hendricks served as Senior Vice President of Operations for Terran Orbital, where he managed a team supporting a broad range of capabilities including spacecraft manufacturing and assembly, integration, and testing, supply chain and quality assurance. Previously, he held management positions with L3 Harris, where he supported developmental and production systems for space, airborne and maritime markets.

Before embarking on recent commercial stints, Hendricks’ accomplished career covered diverse roles and missions over nearly two decades with the U.S. Navy. As Deputy Program Director in the National Reconnaissance Office, Hendricks led spacecraft production for a $13 billion national imagery satellite.

As Director for Integration, Test and Launch with the Navy’s SPAWAR Space Field Activity Detachment, Shawn managed cost and scheduling and launch for reconnaissance satellite production, overseeing more than 600 engineers and technical specialists and $4.5 billion in critical defense assets. He helped successfully achieve on-orbit delivery of two first-of-its-kind spacecraft for critical national security missions.

Hendricks’ Navy experience also includes a unique perspective on refueling operations, as he participated in an adjunct mission aboard the ES-3A equipped with a refueling pod, which was used both to extend fighter jet missions and to provide extra fuel to aircraft recovering on the aircraft carrier.

Earlier this year, Orbit Fab completed a successful Series A funding round of $28.5 million that will allow the company to accelerate key executive and technical team hires, drive fuel sales, the integration of the RAFTI refueling port, and the development of fuel delivery and storage infrastructure in GEO, LEO, and VLEO orbits.

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. The company 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 GEO, LEO, and VLEO.

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