I just wanted to mention that Altius recently signed a contract to do prototype development of a propellant tank for a nanosat propulsion system under development by Stellar Exploration, Inc. Stellar is also an aerospace R&D company, based out in San Luis Obispo, run by my friend Tomas Svitek. They’ve got a great team of talented young engineers, most of whom I think came from nearby Cal Poly. In addition to the nanosat-based solar sail demonstrator they are building for the Planetary Society, they’re also actively involved in the nanosat propulsion market, as well as doing some missile defense work as well. I’ve worked with their team in the past, and really look forward to working with them on this project.
The low-pressure tank we will be developing for them is for a scaled-up version of the 1U cubesat propulsion unit they’re currently developing. I’ll be using this tank to validate some of the low-cost, lightweight manufacturing techniques that could be used for other low-pressure tanks, like pump-fed propellant tanks for suborbital vehicles or nanosat launchers. Once the development of this system is completed, it should provide a low-cost, highly capable propulsion system for high-end nanosats and microsats. I’ll see if I can get permission to post hardware pictures at some point down the road once we’ve gotten into fabrication.
This is an exciting project for Altius, and we look forward to continuing to work with Tomas and his team.