Envisioned Propulsion Ecosystem

CisLunar Industries, Astroscale U.S. and Colorado State University Awarded $1.7M Contract by the U.S. Space Force

By: Astroscale U.S.
Posted February 22nd, 2023 Posted in News & Press Releases

Denver, CO, February 22, 2023 – CisLunar Industries, with partners Astroscale U.S., Colorado State University and another to be named, has been awarded a Direct-to-Phase II SBIR contract by SpaceWERX, the innovation arm of the U.S. Space Force (USSF). Led by Cislunar Industries, this newly funded collaboration project—a circular propulsion ecosystem based on the ability to recycle metal in space to enable enhanced satellite mobility—directly addresses the Space Force’s desire to make space operations more resilient.

“This contract demonstrates a commitment to building a foundation for long-term success in space by addressing one of the most limiting factors for space platforms: the quantity of propellant on board needed for orbital maneuvering,” said Gary Calnan of CisLunar Industries. “This award also helps address another challenge: the ever-increasing amount of space debris, which presents risks of collision and damage to active space platforms.”

These Direct-to-Phase II SBIR awards come through Orbital Prime, a SpaceWERX Prime line of business that is part of a larger effort to create partnerships with companies working in the nascent space industry. Orbital Prime’s focus is on accelerating capabilities related to In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM).

“Under the leadership of the U.S. Space Force and SpaceWERX, we’re shifting from a paradigm of launching new assets and abandoning the old toward a more sustainable and flexible approach,” said Ron Lopez, President and Managing Director of Astroscale U.S. “Recycling debris into fuel and improving on-orbit servicing capabilities will make space a safer, more secure environment by offering end users services that improve resilience and enhance operational effectiveness.”

The consortium of Colorado-based organizations will work together to move the project from concept to execution, including developing the propellant rods and delivery systems, and generating market demand.

“All too often, focusing on sustainability means giving something up or doing more with less,” says Dr. John Williams, Professor and Director of the Center for Electric Propulsion and Plasma Engineering at CSU. “The exciting part of this project is that it addresses major challenges in an efficient and elegant way—and Colorado is the epicenter. Converting space debris to propulsion fuel rods is like using your compost pile to fuel your car. This is one of those opportunities where doing the smart thing and doing the right thing are the same.”

Envisioned Propulsion Ecosystem
The Envisioned Propulsion Ecosystem


About CisLunar Industries USA Inc.
CisLunar Industries is developing, manufacturing, and operating Modular Space Foundries (MSFs) to process metal in space for use in space. The MSF transforms feedstock into metal propellant and products for in-space manufacturing. The MSF enables solutions to multiple customer problems in space and on Earth: space debris recycling, propellant refueling, satellite end-of-life disposal, large structure construction, supply of lunar metal manufacturing feedstock, and terrestrial mining. CisLunar Industries is headquartered in Denver.
For more information, visit: www.cislunarindustries.com.

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About Astroscale U.S.
Astroscale U.S. Inc. provides on-orbit services and logistics across all orbits for commercial operators, the U.S. government and partner governments around the world. Astroscale U.S. is headquartered in Denver, Colorado, and is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astroscale Holdings Inc., the first private company with a vision to secure the safe and sustainable development of space for the benefit of future generations, and the only company solely dedicated to on-orbit services across all orbits. Astroscale Israel Ltd., based in Tel Aviv, is a subsidiary of and serves as the research and payload development team for Astroscale U.S. Astroscale U.S. leverages the best of investments and developments made by Astroscale engineering, policy and business teams domestically and in Japan, the United Kingdom and Israel to provide flexibility and value for space operations in the U.S. and partner nations.

For more about Astroscale U.S., visit www.astroscale-us.com.
For more about Astroscale, visit www.astroscale.com.

About the CSU System
Colorado State University System encompasses three distinct universities: CSU, a leading public research university and the state’s only land-grant institution, located in Fort Collins; CSU Pueblo, a regional-serving campus and federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution; and CSU Global, the nation’s first fully accredited public online university. The CSU System’s institutions serve nearly 60,000 students annually. Learn more about the CSU System and its institutions, projects, and partnerships at csusystem.edu. ​