Dr. Brad King, CEO of Orbion Space Technology, was interviewed by Nextbigfuture. Brad King has two decades in the space field and many professional awards recognize his research contributions in propulsion. He has a Ph.D in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan, has served on numerous NASA, Department of Defense, and Intelligence Community advisory panels, and has published more than 100 papers on space propulsion systems. He is a past recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award from President George W. Bush “for innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology, and for the exceptional potential to shape the future.” In 2002, Brad founded Aerophysics Inc. This closely held company has delivered intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance solutions to government customers from multiple agencies. He is currently a principal investigator on three satellite missions.
SpaceX and Spaceflight Industries will be providing ridesharing flights to place 10-100 satellites into orbit at one time. This is like dozens of people reaching a bus stop. Rocket companies will drop off the satellites in one location in one orbit. The satellites will need propulsion to reach their operating location. This is where Orbion Space Technology will help them. They will provide proven Hall thruster technology for fuel-efficient and lightweight propulsion to move satellites to the right orbit.
There will hundreds to thousands of smallsats put into orbit each year. Orbion will deliver hundreds or thousands of thrusters for satellites.
Orbion will be able to mass-produce proven hall thruster technology.
Orbion will be able to reduce the mass of satellite propulsion by 3 times while improving the imaging, lifespan, orbit control and re-entry.
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Traditional testing takes 6 to 8 months before delivery. Orbion’s manufacturing approach aims to build and ship thrusters within just 6-8 days of order.
Hall Thrusters have about 1600 ISP which is four times more than chemical rockets.
Orbion can propel small satellites in the 100 kg range. These satellites are the workhorse applications and will have the largest growth in the next 5-10 years. The smallsat market is projected to exceed $62 billion by 2030.