(14 January 2021 – Altius Space Machines) Voyager Space Holdings subsidiary, Altius Space Machines has achieved a significant milestone: a successful first launch of the company’s DogTags universal grapple fixtures into space aboard OneWeb’s satellites.
This is the first of many planned launches for Altius’ DogTags, as the company is slated to produce grapple fixtures for all of OneWeb’s remaining satellites in its planned constellation.
Flight DogTag prototype (courtesy: Altius)
Altius’ DogTag grapple fixture is a commercially available universal grappling point for satellites. DogTags are optimized for magnetic grappling; however, they are compatible with a variety of grapple methods such as mechanical grasping, Gecko adhesion, electrostatic adhesion and harpoon grappling. DogTags help mitigate the growing space debris problem by making it easier to deorbit non-functioning satellites, and can also be used to tug functional satellites to new orbits, act as an anchor point for satellite servicing, and capturing and stowing various payloads.
“This is an incredibly proud moment for Altius. It’s always wonderful getting to see an idea your team has been working on for years take flight,” said Jonathan Goff, CEO and founder of Altius Space Machines. “Beyond this individual achievement, we’re optimistic today’s launch will be the first of many as we work to lower the cost of servicing, and enable satellite operators like OneWeb to pioneer more sustainable space operations.”
Altius’ partnership with OneWeb is part of OneWeb’s larger initiative focused on advancing Responsible Space. The satellite communications company is committed to “leaving no trace in space” and is partnering with companies like Altius as part of its advocacy efforts for space environmental stewardship to aid in orbital debris management. The satellites are manufactured by Airbus OneWeb Satellites in a state-of-the-art factory located in Merritt Island, Florida.
“It is very rewarding to see our first portfolio company reach such a major milestone as this one,” said Matthew Kuta, president and COO of Voyager. “The DogTag is just one of their many revolutionary on-orbit satellite servicing solutions that we know will be transformational for future commercial and private sector use.”
About Voyager Space Holdings
Voyager Space Holdings, Inc. is a global leader in space exploration. Voyager’s long-term mission is to create a vertically integrated publicly traded NewSpace company capable of delivering any mission humans can conceive. By centralizing shared services functions at the parent company level, Voyager enables engineer founded and led subsidiaries to focus more on development of innovative products and services. The firm’s first in industry model is uniquely tailored to support the growth needs of commercial space companies by offering an alternative solution to traditional private capital models and replaces them with a longer-term approach as a provider of permanent capital. Voyager is led by founders and space industry veterans Dylan Taylor and Matthew Kuta, with a Board of Directors that includes National Security Expert and four-star Air Force General William Shelton, leading investor Gabe Finke, and a world leading planetary Scientist, Dr. Alan Stern.
About Altius Space Machines
Altius is a space robotics and technology startup with expertise in orbital rendezvous and capture robotics, active debris removal, spacecraft mechanisms, assistive telerobotics, in-space propellant transfer, satellite servicing, and on-orbit assembly and manufacturing.
OneWeb is a global communications network powered from space, headquartered in London, enabling connectivity for governments, businesses, and communities. It is implementing a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites with a network of global gateway stations and a range of user terminals to provide an affordable, fast, high-bandwidth and low-latency communications service, connected to the IoT future and a pathway to 5G for everyone, everywhere.
About Airbus OneWeb Satellites
Airbus OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture between Airbus and OneWeb that was formed in 2016 to design and manufacture the satellites for the OneWeb constellation. In the process, Airbus OneWeb Satellites has revolutionized satellite manufacturing by being the first to utilize commoditization and mass production techniques to dramatically reduce production times and costs. The company’s mission is not limited to the OneWeb program. Through the partnership with Airbus, Airbus OneWeb Satellites is offering to the market a standardized, mass produced satellite platform and payload interface that can be compatible with many different payloads, providing end-users with dramatic cost savings and opening the door for missions that were previously unthinkable.