Orbion and DOD Plan to Protect Space Systems and Economy Against Threats

Safety in space for the nation is critical and, recognizing this fact, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Propulsion Directorate to strengthen the Department of Defense (DOD) has enlisted Orbion Space Technology to investigate the utility of their leading-edge propulsion technology.  

The DOD will rely on Orbion’s findings to substantially improve the capability and operation of future small satellites, which play a critical role in the resiliency of U.S. systems in space.

Orbion Space Technology’s results will be to enhance resiliency in space and protect the space economy against evolving threats.

Findings reveal that the implementation of small satellite constellations increases the number and diversity of potential targets, improving mission survivability and making it more difficult for potential adversaries to lead successful attacks against the U.S.The contract also allows Orbion to further research, develop, and adapt their current commercial propulsion system to meet the DOD’s unique needs.

Chuck Beames, the Pentagon’s former senior executive overseeing all space and intelligence acquisitions for the DOD and current Chairman of the Small Satellite Alliance, commented that they are at an important inflection point in the development of next-gen space systems. The U.S. must aggressively pursue all measures that would increase its resiliency in space or risk falling far, far behind. Technologies like those developed by Orbion support the move toward better disaggregation, diversity, response times, and proliferation.

Orbion CEO Brad King added that one way to increase the resilience of space systems is to improve the nation’s ability to build and deploy small satellites in large numbers at low costs. Orbion is developing mass-production techniques to build propulsion systems for commercial customers.  With this research contract they are investigating how, or if, their manufacturing processes must be modified to meet DOD requirements.


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