Astroscale Plans Refueling Mission APS-R With Space Force Funding
Astroscale U.S. shared new details about an upcoming satellite refueling mission, which is partially funded by the U.S. Space Force. The spacecraft is called the Astroscale Prototype Servicer for Refueling, or APS-R, and the company plans to deliver it by 2026.
The Space Force awarded Astroscale a $25.5 million contract in September 2023. It was awarded by Space Systems Command’s Assured Access to Space (AATS) directorate, in collaboration with the Space Development Corps’ Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC). Astroscale U.S. was selected through a competitive process.
Astroscale said it is contributing approximately $12 million from Astroscale U.S. and its partner and supplier team. Astroscale U.S. selected the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to build the APS-R bus for the mission.
APS-R is designed as a standard ESPA class satellite to conduct multiple refueling missions in Geostationary Orbit (GEO). Describing the mission, Astroscale said it will carry and transfer hydrazine to its client spacecraft so the client can continue operations uninterrupted.
“The advent of in-air refueling completely changed the equation for the duration and distance of aircraft missions,” said President and Managing Director of Astroscale U.S., Ron Lopez. “The space industry is on the cusp of a similar fuel-led technological revolution. This innovation in on-orbit servicing will ultimately extend the range and mobility of satellites in orbit, allowing the USSF to do more with their operational assets.”