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Benchmark Space Systems Merges Tech with Tesseract, Signs Green Propulsion Deal with Spaceflight

By Jeffrey Hill | August 5, 2020

Benchmark’s Halcyon Propulsion System (Photo: Benchmark Space Systems)

Benchmark Space Systems, an in-space propulsion systems supplier coming off of a recent capital fundraising round of more than $3 million, has just secured technology partnerships with Tesseract Space and Spaceflight Inc. 

Under a permanent licensing partnership, Benchmark will integrate Tesseract Space intellectual property, assets, and staff to expand the development, deployment and support of its non-toxic chemical propulsion solutions for global rideshare markets. Benchmark said the move would make the company more agile in meeting market demand for green, launch vehicle-agnostic thrusters and services supporting 1U CubeSats through ESPA-class (1-to-500kg small satellites), large lunar landers, and orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs).

“Getting into orbit quickly, affordably and safely is the top priority for small satellite missions looking to start generating revenue within days, not months of their launch into space. Benchmark Space Systems has the leading-edge non-toxic chemical propulsion and support solutions to make that happen,” said Tesseract Co-Founder Erik Franks, who will now join Benchmark’s leadership team. “Rideshare and OTV competition is a huge catalyst for propulsion market growth, and Benchmark is well ahead of the curve with required green solutions that far exceed the performance of electric propulsion.”

Benchmark also confirmed an exclusive services agreement with rideshare launcher Spaceflight Inc. to provide a full range of non-toxic chemical propulsion solutions for Spaceflight’s next-generation Sherpa orbital transfer vehicles (OTVs), including the Sherpa FX vehicle Spaceflight unveiled last month.

“By exclusively adding Benchmark’s reliable, green in-space propulsion systems to our portfolio of powered Sherpa vehicles, we can cost-effectively deliver our customers’ spacecraft to optimal orbits with greater precision, and then rapidly deorbit. That’s good for everyone – including the environment,” said Curt Blake, Spaceflight president and CEO.

Benchmark’s new Halcyon propulsion system will debut aboard two small satellites scheduled to launch aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 in December. Benchmark will also demonstrate its Starling thruster (formerly DFAST) aboard a 3U small satellite set to liftoff with Firefly Aerospace on the inaugural Alpha flight in October.