Orbital Machines, a NewSpace startup, and Theion, a battery technology startup, have entered into a partnership to revolutionize the cost and payload capacities of small launch vehicles by more than halving the weight of their batteries.
Orbital Machines specializes in supplying standardized and scalable rocket components to the NewSpace industry. Their benchmark product is an electric propellant pump that feeds the launch vehicle’s rocket engine with fuel and oxidizer. The product is a safer and more flexible alternative to the traditional turbopump technology.
These are desirable attributes to small launch vehicle companies, who aim to provide frequent and affordable satellite launches. However, the weight of the batteries have prevented electric propellant pumps from being adopted at large scale. Until now.
“Using Theion’s solid-state lithium-sulfur batteries, we can not only multiply the payload of small launch vehicles, but also replace the traditional gas-driven turbopumps still used on larger launch vehicles, and even for crewed missions.”, says Eivind Liland, CEO of Orbital Machines
This will have a significant effect on the whole NewSpace Industry, and especially the fast growing small satellite launch industry.
“The new battery technology will make it easier and cheaper to launch. Since a rocket needs to lift not only itself, but also its propellant, any reduction in its final mass has an exponential effect on how much payload it can lift into orbit.”, Liland explains
For Theion, combining their batteries with an electric propellant pump for rockets provides an ideal opportunity.
“The partnership is an opportunity to test our revolutionary battery technology with applications that demand extreme performance, and will test and verify our technology’s utility. That gives us higher confidence before we expand to mass industries, like for example car batteries.”, says Florian Ruess, CEO of Theion
“If our technology can meet the requirements of a rocket launch and space environment that will be an excellent basis for other applications.”, Ruess continues
By exploiting new technological opportunities like this, and economies of scale, Orbital Machines will supply the industry with standardized, affordable and reliable components for frequent launches.
“Our company’s main mission is to help make access to space cheaper and more accessible to everyone, and with Theion, we are prepared to take a giant leap towards that goal.”, says Eivind