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Starfish Space Reports Success Stabilizing its Otter Pup Mission 

By Rachel Jewett | August 29, 2023
      A graphic from the Otter Pup recovery missions. Photo: Starfish Space

      A graphic from the Otter Pup recovery missions. Photo: Starfish Space

      Starfish Space reported success in stabilizing its first ‘Otter Pup’ mission, after the servicing spacecraft was deployed from an orbital transfer vehicle spinning in space. 

      The Otter Pup rode to space on the June 12 SpaceX rideshare mission on Launcher’s Orbiter SN3 space tug. But the space tug fell into an uncontrollable rotation after it was deployed. It released the Otter Pup, rotating more than 330 degrees per second. 

      Starfish Space recounted work over the last two months to stabilize the spacecraft, working with mission partner Astro Digital. At one point, power levels were so low the flight computer shut down, but Starfish Space and Astro Digital performed emergency maneuvers and were finally able to stabilize the satellite with normal control operations. 

      Now stabilized, Starfish Space still plans to complete an on-orbit docking mission, but must find a new docking partner (the Orbiter SN3 space tug was the original target docking partner). 

      “This is a significant achievement not only for Starfish, but also for the field of on-orbit satellite control broadly,” Starfish Space said. “Otter Pup has the chance to unlock a new paradigm for what is possible in space, and we look forward to continuing to share its journey with the world.”