Colorado space 'gas station' startup lands millions in venture backing, plans significant expansion

The company won four near-term missions to bring refueling satellites in orbit, and attracted backing as a result.

Colorado space 'gas station' startup lands millions in venture backing, plans significant expansion

Colorado-based company, which compares itself as the first space gas station, has raised $28.5M in venture capital and has four contracts to help it perfect orbital refueling.

Orbit Fab of Lafayette closed the Series A funding and announced this week its plans to hire 25 new employees in the next few months.

Orbit Fab founder CEO Daniel Faber said that the successful round shows the enthusiasm investors have towards the company's ability to fuel important parts of the space economy.

He said: 'We'll leverage the funding to increase fuel sales, and intensify production and integration our RAFTI refueling port aboard government and commercial satellites to power the engines for the industrial revolution in the space.' Orbit Fab, which has been making satellites reusable for the space economy since 2010, is a great example of how rockets are becoming reusable in the last decade.

Venture capital firm 8090 Industries based in New York led the funding round. Stride Capital was also a major investor, as were Industrious Ventures and Lockheed Martin Ventures.

Orbit Fab received $10 million in funding last year, led by Lockheed Martin Ventures (NYSE: NOC), Northrop Grumman, and Asymmetry Ventures of San Francisco.

Orbit Fab’s refueling ports allow the fuel shuttle in orbit to dock and refill the satellite, extending its life.

In 2021, the company will officially move its headquarters from San Francisco metro area to Denver when it employs 15 remote workers.

Since then, it has grown significantly. It doubled its staff in one year and opened a branch in the United Kingdom.

It is a new concept to re-use satellites, and few spacecraft are equipped with ports that can receive fuel. Orbit Fab wants to change this by encouraging satellite manufacturers to adopt its RAFTI port to allow future refueling.

The refueling company has missions worth $21 million.

Orbit Fab won a contract last fall for a four-year supply of hydrazine to Space Force satellites orbiting in space starting in 2025.

It's anticipated that early next year it will conduct rendezvous-and proximity operations -- practicing safely getting a satellite close to something in orbit -- as part of a mission funded both by SpaceWerx and the Air Force.

Early last year, the company reached an agreement with Denver-based Astroscale USA. This startup offers orbital debris removal by using specially-built spacecraft.

Orbit Fab has struck a historic deal to refuel Astroscale's fleet of Lexi Servicer satellites, which the company plans to launch into orbit in 2026.

Kerem Ozmen said in a press release that 8090 Industries invested in OrbitFab due to their unique ability and position as a provider of critical infrastructure for the entire space industry. Orbit Fab's fueling capabilities enable a variety of propellant inventory for extended in-space assembly and manufacturing operations, rendezvous, proximity and rendezvous.

There are many other people who see the potential of in-orbit maintenance and refueling.

It revealed that it had successfully tested its own proximity and rendezvous technologies. The company is now preparing to launch satellite-upgrading services and refueling in orbit.