The Orbion Aurora system is a high-performance game-changer for New Space operators looking to maximize on investments in smallsat missions.
Orbion Space Technology, developer of next-generation smallsat propulsion systems, today announced it has raised $9.2M in Series A funding led by Material Impact, a venture capital firm focused on translating early stage, innovative materials technologies into products and companies that solve real-world problems. Other participants in the round include Invest Michigan, Invest Detroit, Wakestream Ventures, Ann Arbor SPARK, and Boomerang Catapult.
The financing comes at a crucial moment for
Orbion and the space market—just last year, the company announced plans to
manufacture and mass-produce the first-ever Hall-effect plasma thrusters for
small satellites, dubbed the Orbion Aurora system. Aurora is the
highest-performing system of its kind in the world, and will deliver the
accelerated access and efficiency gains that New Space operators need to drive
greater ROI for smallsat missions. Also in the last year, dozens of companies
and government defense agencies announced plans to build and launch thousands
of new small satellites—all of which will require plasma thrusters.
Unique to Orbion is their end-to-end approach
to manufacturing, which integrates high-performance space technology, robotic
assembly-line integration, and acceptance testing perfected in high-volume
production environments. This model adapts key techniques and infrastructure
developed in the tactical missile industry.
“We at Material Impact are proud to be part of the Orbion team. We believe Orbion’s thruster technology will propel small satellites into a booming market driven by applications ranging from high-speed mobile communications to high-resolution imaging,” said Adam Sharkawy, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Material Impact. “While there is also a great deal of interest in shoebox-sized CubeSats, we believe that the small satellites in the 100 kg range that the Orbion thrusters can currently propel will represent the workhorse applications with the largest growth in the next 5-10 years. As a result, the smallsat market is projected to exceed $62B by 2030.”
Dr. Brad King, CEO of Orbion Space Technology,
said: “We’re honored to have the financial support and expertise of such key
investors as Material Impact to power our progress. It’s an exciting milestone
in our mission to bring modern mass-manufacturing to space technology and help
New Space operators unlock their full potential.”
Smallsat launches are projected to increase at
an unprecedented rate in the coming years, but the supplier base for key
technologies is not yet mature enough to support the projected growth. Many of the components on new small
satellites, such as solar cells, batteries, and computers, can be leveraged
from large established terrestrial markets and can easily satisfy the projected
growth. Propulsion, however, is a “space-only” technology that has no
terrestrial counterpart and, until Orbion, there was no supplier capable of
delivering hundreds or thousands of thrusters for satellites.
In addition to their unique ability to
manufacture at-scale, Orbion’s approach has the potential to save hundreds of
millions of dollars for these operators by reducing propulsion system mass by
3X while improving the imaging, lifespan, orbit control and re-entry. And
unlike traditional testing that takes 6-8 months of testing before delivery,
Orbion’s manufacturing approach aims to build and ship thrusters within just
6-8 days of order.
To learn more about Orbion Space Technology,
About Orbion Space Technology
Space Technology develops revolutionary propulsion systems that allow small
satellites to achieve more in space environments, including the first-ever
Hall-effect plasma thruster designed expressly for mass production. Orbion not
only designs and develops these systems, but innovates novel techniques and
processes for mass-manufacture to meet the rising demands of New Space
customers. The team brings a wealth of expertise across areas such as plasma
thrusters, space electronics, orbital mechanics, manufacturing, and space
business. For more information, please visit www.orbionspace.com.
About Material Impact
Material Impact is a venture capital fund that invests in building companies which transform material technologies into products that make an impact on real world problems. Material Impact is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit http://www.materialimpact.com.