TAMPA, Fla .– Satellite propulsion start-up Benchmark Space Systems has secured customers for a new ‘mobility as a service’ business, which, similar to a cab ride, will charge them based on the amount of thruster that they use.

Benchmark, based in Burlington, Vt., Said its space mobility service significantly reduces up-front propulsion costs for in-orbit maintenance, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM) companies with needs of undefined propulsion.

According to Benchmark executive vice president of business development Chris Carella, satellite operators could pay as little as 10% of the initial cost to install their thrusters as part of a long-term deal, allowing them to amortize the rest of the expenses as the income arrives.

“The contracts are intended to extend over the entire mission; However, if there was a particular need to negotiate a transfer similar to buying a lease, Benchmark would try to accommodate, ”Carella said. News in an interview.

The business model is designed to support the OSAM ecosystem as the market takes shape to extend the life of satellites, repair them, and other emerging applications.

This means these startups can invest more of their initial capital in other parts of the business, while paying for on-demand propulsion from operational revenue.

SCOUT, a provider of space inspection and situational awareness, and Orbit Fab, which develops satellite in-space refueling stations, are the first two customers of Benchmark’s new business model.

OSAM companies such as these are increasing the demand for greater mobility and precision in space.

“There’s a lot of innovation on the tech side in the space, but innovation on the business side like Benchmark isn’t happening enough,” said Adam Harris, vice president of business development at Orbit Fab.

“This model of mobility as a service will change the way companies do business in space.”

Carella also highlighted a maturing space ecosystem where companies are increasingly outsourcing various elements to specialists.

He said its pay-as-you-go service reduces the burden on OSAM companies to choose propulsion systems that can cover all potential operational scenarios.

“It’s something that ends well in a service type offering,” he added.

“Now that there are service vehicles, people want their costs to be closely tied to their income. They don’t want to drop all of their costs up front.

Benchmark’s Halcyon non-toxic chemical propulsion system aims to gain a legacy of flight after the launch of the SpaceX Transporter 2 carpool mission, scheduled for June 25.

Its thrusters will be filled with Orbit Fab’s Tanker-001 Tenzing thruster, which is also on a launch mission to demonstrate capabilities.


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