Benchmark Space Systems, a start-up developing innovative space technologies for satellites has signed a manifest agreement with Firefly Aerospace of Austin, Texas to secure a ‘ride’ to space in Q1 2020. Firefly and Benchmark Space have each completed extensive development and testing of their respective technologies, and are primed for space.
For Firefly’s inaugural Alpha Rocket launch, the target altitude of 300 km provides an ideal environment for Benchmark Space to demonstrate the launch preparation and safety features of the DFAST propulsion system and run through a suite of maneuvers on-orbit. NearSpace Launch (Upland, IN) will provide their 3U FastBus satellite and mission support.
This announcement comes just a few days following the FCC’s timely revision of Part 25 satellite regulations that allow streamlined satellite licensing for spacecraft equipped with propulsion on board. “Collision avoidance and controlled end of life de-orbit capabilities are a popular discussion topic within the space industry as we expect tens of thousands of new satellites to be orbiting our planet over the next decade,” says Benchmark’s CEO, Ryan McDevitt.
Benchmark Space’s DFAST product line was developed to provide the benefits of reliable, high-precision positioning and control capability with unprecedented safety and affordability. This innovative system uses inert, non-toxic powdered fuel that is filled before shipping and remains inert until a pressurization command is triggered on-orbit. The ability to ship, store, and inhibit an assembled and fueled DFAST is “a game changer” for lowering launch manifest and operational costs. McDevitt adds that his team are “in planning to debut their liquid-fueled system later in 2020, following the completion of a development program with the US Air Force.”