Satellite Servicing Database
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Due to Earth’s insatiable need for information and communication, up to 50,000 new satellites will be deployed in the next decade. While many will be small, disposable micro-satellites, the need for larger high-powered systems will also increase. Until now, these have been designed to run on only the fuel they carried when launched, had to stay in the position where they were initially deployed, and when out of propellant, or if struck by a malfunction, had to be abandoned.
A new service and supply industry is being born to provide propellant, parts, and repairs, as well as the ability to move satellites into different orbits. Tow trucks, gas stations, and robotic space mechanics will not only extended the life of space assets, they will also be the basis for an entirely new space economy built on the core frontier tenets of re-use, recycling, re-supply and re-purposing.
The full gamut of the in-space supply chain will develop in the coming 5 – 7 years, and is expected to be worth $10s of Billions by the end of the decade. The first experimental systems have already flown, and traditional satellite operators and builders are already incorporating on site serviceability and re-fueling capability into their fleets. Some of these service providers are already signing contracts with fleet owners for future servicing missions.
While satellite servicing is an interesting and exciting new industry, SpaceFund believe it is just the first step in the developing in-space supply chain. Satellite servicing spacecraft will need spare parts and tools to complete emergency missions or correct equipment failures. This creates a business case for 3D printing in space. Servicing spacecraft will need to be reusable, which means refueling. They will also want to refuel their customers. This creates a business case for fuel depots in space. And once there are fuel depots in orbit, the economics of Moon and asteroid mining start to make sense. Eventually, these early stage and near term practical cases will set the stage for on orbit manufacturing of hardware to be used in space, along with creating a market and technology to support the development of a space resource based economy.
From SpaceFund’s perspective, the satellite servicing industry is a significant and important step towards building an in-space economy. This first step in the supply chain will lead to the creation of many other business models and technologies. New products and services will emerge to fill the needs of a growing base of customers in LEO. We believe smart investors will place their bets on many of these companies, as alternatives to and beneficiaries of the over saturated launch industry.
The skill sets and technical-economic interactions established in this first wave of on site, in space servicing will prove the case for and shift the demand curve towards self-sufficiency on the frontier. These same elements form the baseline needed to support human presence, when taken to scale. Thus, by starting with the fulfillment of a near term and practical market need, brilliant entrepreneurs are laying the foundation for both the space industrial revolution and the human settlement of the solar system.
Special thanks to the team at OrbitFab for their help in developing this database.
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How to Provide Updated Data
Have we missed your company? Do you feel that your company should have a different rating? Is the listed data inaccurate or outdated? Do you see missing data for your company? The best way to update your information in this database is to reach out to us directly to provide additional information about your technology, management team, funding history, and company progress. We are also eager to learn about any additional data sources that can help us in our ongoing research, so please feel free to share any resources you know of with our team.
Updates will be published on approximately a monthly basis.
SpaceFund Reality (SFR) Rating
Satellite Servicing Database
Last Update: 13 January 2021
|wdt_ID||Company||SFR||Category||Altitude||Funding ($M)||Target First Launch||Country||HQ Location||Description|
|246||SpaceLogistics (Northrop Grumman)||9||Relocation/Orbit Adjustment; Robotic Servicing||GEO||Public||Launched (2019)||USA||Falls Church, VA||Providing cooperative in-orbit satellite servicing to geosynchronous satellite operators using a fleet of commercial servicing vehicles|
|247||Moog||7||Relocation/Orbit Adjustment||GEO, LEO||Public||-||USA||East Aurora, NY||Developing a propulsive tug for secondary payload deployment|
|248||Space Systems/Loral (Maxar Technologies)||7||Relocation/Orbit Adjustment; Robotic Servicing||LEO||Public||2022||USA||Palo Alto, CA||Building advanced robotic and systems and offering space Infrastructure Services|
|249||Airbus||6||Debris Mitigation; Relocation/Orbit Adjustment; Robotic Servicing||GEO, LEO||Public||2023||France||Toulouse||End to end on-orbit services offered across three main domains: maintenance & inspection, logistics, and clean-up|
|250||Altius Space Machines||6||Relocation/Orbit Adjustment; Robotic Servicing||LEO||-||-||USA||Broomfield, CO||Developing tailored solutions for on-orbit servicing needs|
|251||Astroscale||6||Debris Mitigation; Relocation/Orbit Adjustment||GEO, LEO||191||2020||Japan||Tokyo||Developing technologies to facilitate active debris removal and life extension services|
|252||Tethers Unlimited||6||Debris Mitigation; Robotic Servicing||LEO||-||2023||USA||Bothell, WA||Developing the LEO Knight, a microsat-class spacecraft that integrates TUI’s KRAKEN robotic arm along with servicing tools and refueling components|
|253||Thales||6||Debris Mitigation||LEO||Joint Venture||2025||France||Cannes||In-orbit servicing with a strong focus on debris removal|
|254||Busek||5||Debris Mitigation; Robotic Servicing||LEO||-||-||USA||Natick, MA||Satellite on an Umbilical Line (SOUL) is a small spacecraft tethered to a host to perform inspection, spacecraft repair, debris removal, and other on-orbit services|
|255||ClearSpace||5||Debris Mitigation||LEO||-||2025||Switzerland||Ecublens||Developing the technologies needed to find, capture, and remove non-functioning satellties|
|Company||SFR||Category||Altitude||Funding ($M)||Target First Launch||Country||HQ Location||Description|
SpaceFund Sectors of Interest
SpaceFund is interested in a number of sectors of the space economy, specifically Transportation, Communication, Human Factors, Supplies, and Energy. In the coming months we will post SFR ratings for companies from all of these sectors, providing a robust overview of the state of frontier-enabling companies across the industry. Please check back frequently to view new sub-sector databases, and sign up to receive our emails to be notified of each new release.
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