Outpost Technologies Corporation (“Outpost”), the first aerospace company to develop a platform for returning satellites to Earth, has announced that it has been selected to be awarded the Phase 1 SBIR Ignite contract with NASA to develop Cargo Ferry, an adaptation of the Ferry Returning Satellite. To Earth, to transport cargo from space stations to Earth. Outpost was the only sub-topic awardee focused on fast, reliable, and cost-effective re-entry capabilities.
Outpost’s Ferry and Cargo Ferry development also utilizes a NASA partnership through a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (SAA). This partnership enables the collaboration in development of NASA’s Hypersonic Inflatable Air Decelerator (HIAD) to provide industry-leading payload Earth return capabilities from orbit.
Freight ferry applications include the ground return of non-human cargo, scientific samples, small payloads, and critical research. For the Cargo Ferry project, Outpost will work with Nanoracks and Spaceflight in an effort to get the technology mission-ready as quickly as possible.
“Outpost Ferry makes it possible to return priority payloads to Earth, and with a large portion of our payload, it does so at a very low cost,” says Outpost founder and CEO Jason Dunn. “Reducing the cost of Earth return could open the door to more productivity at the International Space Station National Laboratory while enabling the broader low-Earth orbit economy to thrive.”
The International Space Station has storage capacity limitations, requiring strict decisions by the International Space Station Program Office each time a new payload appears. By downloading stored goods, more space for new science and research and development is made available at the station. Dedicated payload and cargo return is one of the few remaining unresolved elements to close business models for low Earth orbit destinations (CLDs). Companies and organizations looking to quickly replicate in the space environment need a quick return to Earth. As Outpost develops the Cargo Ferry, it has its sights on a future human-rated version that might one day provide a solution to emergency evacuations from commercial space stations.
Cargo Ferry will be smaller than fixed heat shield systems and better suited for CLDs that are expected to be smaller than the ISS. It will be expandable to a heavier payload with a direct increase in mass and volume less than a static heat shield, as the heat shield collapses for all mission phases up to the very final insertion. This means that it will take up less size during launch to LEO, and while being stored in the CLD.
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Outpost, the sustainable space company, is leading a new way of developing space that can be reused, not thrown away. With its first product, Outpost is building reusable satellites that carry customer payloads into space and back to Earth. By moving payloads with Outpost, users can space their products, iterate, and see how they perform in the space. The Outpost facilitates replication in space faster than anything else available. The future of space (and Earth) requires a focus on low-cost reusability to create a sustainable industry. At Outpost, we pride ourselves on driving responsible product development with sustainability as a core design. Learn more at outpost.space and follow their journey @outpostspace on Twitter.
Media contact for information and interviews: Diane Murphy ([email protected]); +1,310,658,8756
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