Orbit Fab Successfully Tests Satellite Refueling Nozzle, Eyes Military Market

Credit: Orbit Fab

Colorado-based announced a successful test of its (Grapple, Reposition, and Interface Payload) fueling nozzle, marking a significant step in its development of in-space refueling technology.

CEO Daniel Faber highlighted the recent test at Kirtland Air Force Base’s Air Force Research Laboratory facility, demonstrating GRIP’s capability to dock with satellites equipped with Orbit Fab’s RAFTI (Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface) refueling port.

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“The test showed that GRIP can establish and maintain a secure fluid connection, enabling in-orbit refueling operations,” Faber explained, emphasizing the device’s potential to replenish satellites low on fuel.

Designed to simplify refueling processes, GRIP’s active docking and fluid transfer mechanism integrates seamlessly with RAFTI, replacing conventional fill and drain valves on satellite propulsion systems.

Orbit Fab faces competition from defense giant in the emerging military satellite refueling market. ‘s Col. Joseph Roth noted ongoing evaluations of both companies’ technologies at the “State of the Space Industrial Base” conference.

“We want to get those technologies on orbit, test them out in an operational environment,” Roth stated, underscoring the strategic importance of on-orbit refueling for military operations.

Orbit Fab’s next milestone is the Space Force’s Tetra-5 experiment in 2025, where GRIP will facilitate fuel delivery to satellites in geostationary orbit. The company aims for flight qualification through rigorous environmental testing to ensure readiness for space operations.

“We will be providing GRIP and related fluid transfer systems to multiple partners,” Faber confirmed, signaling Orbit Fab’s readiness to commercialize its technology.

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