Orbit Fab Raises Money to Build ‘Gas Stations’ in Space

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Launching a satellite into space with all the fuel it will ever need is like buying a car and having to tow a 10,000 gallon trailer of fuel behind it. It doesn’t make sense. Orbit Fab today announces it has raised money to solve the problem.

[San Francisco] Orbit Fab is making fuel supplies ubiquitous in Earth orbit, getting satellites the right fuel in the right location, whenever they need it. Early stage venture capital firm Bolt has led an investment in Orbit Fab to build ‘gas stations’ in space. Orbit Fab joins the Bolt portfolio, which includes a variety of transportation and aerospace-related businesses, such as SpinLaunch and PointOne navigation.

The investment was led by Greg McAdoo, formerly a senior partner at Sequoia Capital where he led some of their most successful investments.

“We are thrilled to be in business with Daniel and his team” Greg McAdoo, GP at Bolt said. “We find the team's vision and execution in the short time since founding to be impressive, and look forward to collaborating with the team to build a great company.”

Orbit Fab was founded by Daniel Faber and Jeremy Schiel. Mr Faber is an industry veteran and former CEO of asteroid-mining company Deep Space Industries. Mr. Schiel brings international marketing and new business development experience from the automotive industry. At Orbit Fab, they lead a global team of 15 experts in space systems, propulsion, logistics, simulation, and AI.

“We chose Bolt to lead our round because of its understanding of our market and of the needs of hardware startups,” said Daniel Faber, CEO at Orbit Fab. “They are providing support across the business that we just couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. People are going to be surprised how quickly we can launch our service.”

Propellant comprises around half of all the material launched into orbit, both inside satellite tanks and in rocket upper stages. This equates to $3Bn being spent each year launching fuel into space. Orbit Fab is initially looking to improve the efficiency of the current operations, while also expecting an expanding market in the coming decade. Satellite life-extension and deorbiting are both fuel dependent activities, and they are forecast to be 71% of an emerging satellite serving market predicted by analysts* to be worth over $3B in the next 10 years.

The company will start launching its tankers in 2019. The first missions are already lined up with NASA, and the company has advanced discussions with a number of launch operators, and strong customer interest in both government and commercial sectors.

* http://www.nsr.com/research-reports/satellite-communications-1/in-orbit-servicing-markets-iosm/

About Bolt:

Bolt is a venture capital firm investing at the intersection of hardware and software. With offices in San Francisco and Boston, Bolt is operating out of an $80M third fund, focusing on pre-seed investments. https://bolt.io

About Orbit Fab:

Orbit Fab was founded in 2018. It is a venture-backed startup with a vision a thriving in-space market for products and services that supports both existing space businesses (communications and Earth observation) and new industries like space tourism, manufacturing and mining. The first step is achieving ubiquitous availability of satellite propellant in Earth Orbit, expanding the operational potential of new and existing space assets and providing unprecedented business model flexibility for satellite owners. The future for satellites is no longer restricted to the fuel they are launched with. It is about getting the fuel and other materials they need, where and when they need it, to enable business models never before thought possible.