A space tug that is fully reusable as well as a delivery system that addresses the last mile is being developed by Plasmos Inc., using the company’s developed propulsion capability
Ali Baghchehsara, the CEO of Plasmos, stated that he has been considering starting a space tug company for a while, but that he was not initially interested in such a project due to the number of numerous competitors. However, what Plasmos is now developing and building will be a reusable spacecraft that will reduce the cost by nearly 65 percent of the amount charged by the competing firms for like services.
He noted that there will be technical challenges in accomplishing this challenge, but most of these challenges have already been solved by companies such as SpaceX and Plasmos is going to use a similar, proven strategy.
“The last mile delivery in space is a problem that needs to be addressed by the industry,” Ali said, continuing, “As the number of satellites on-orbit are ever increasing, launch prices are decreasing. However, the cost for satellites to reach their final orbit remains high.”
A total of 1,713 commercial satellites were deployed during 2021 (based on the 2022 Annual report issued from the Satellite Industry Association (SIA)), an increase of more than 40 percent when compared to the numbers in 2020 — more than 80% of those satellites are considered small to medium spacecraft. Considering that this satellite segment is a rapidly growing market, Plasmos is pushing forward to develop and complete their reusable, last mile, delivery service in space.
Plasmos has developed a propulsion system that uses Velo3D‘s additive manufacturing (AM) capabilities — the space tug engine was successfully tested by the company during the week of June 19th.