ExoTerra & Virgin Orbit Win NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Upper Stage Award8th Jun 2021
ExoTerra Resource, working along with Virgin Orbit on solar electric propulsion upper stage technology, has recently won a Business Innovation award from NASA. The stage is designed to deliver up to 150 kg of cargo to lunar orbit and up to 180 kg to GEO. This is an exciting time for both companies and their clients because Virgin will now be able to go beyond LEO – perhaps, even on interplanetary missions.
ExoTerra Resource on Solar Electric Propulsion Upper Stage Award
ExoTerra’s CEO Michael Van Woerkom states that their solar electric propulsion upper stage, designed together with Virgin Orbit, opens new opportunities for interplanetary missions. The state is designed for responsive small launchers, giving lightweight spacecraft a chance to deliver microsatellites and micro-landers to GEO and the Moon. According to the company CEO, the entire ExoTerra team is excited about winning the award and will keep working with Virgin to improve the upper stage performance.
Virgin Orbit on New Space Capabilities
In its turn, Virgin Orbit is equally excited to act as ExoTerra’s commercial partner. Today, Virgin is one of the most promising aerospace companies, emphasising launch flexibility and offering innovative solutions to keep pushing the industry forward. Virgin is known for its partnerships with various international companies that share the same vision of space accessibility and flexible, responsive launch technologies.
According to Dan Hart, Virgin CEO, the solar electric propulsion upper stage award from NASA ‘falls squarely’ on the company development map. Mr. Hart believes Virgin team will use this stage with the company’s exciting air-launch system. This, in turn, will help Virgin provide better services for a wide range of customers in science, business, commerce, etc. Virgin Orbit CEO believes that satellites are the future, and solar electric propulsion upper stage tech will ensure that smallsats go beyond LEO.