Orbion Space Technology Opens New Plasma Propulsion Testing Facility in Houghton
Orbion Space Technology cut the ribbon on their new facility yesterday. The company plans to test newly developed and manufactured plasma propulsion systems for small satellites, before they are sold to their customers. Orbion also provides end-to-end services like engineering, planning, orbit and mission analysis, propellant fueling, and on-orbit support.
“We need to take each thruster for a test drive, before we deliver it to a customer. So we put it in the chamber. And we run for 12 to 14 hours. Make sure that it performs to spec. And we deliver it to the customer, and from there on to the solar system.” – Brad King, Orbion Space Technology CEO
Orbion’s history starts at Michigan Tech, Orbion CEO Brad King, is a faculty member, and former student at the university. Orbion and other tech companies that have set down roots in the Copper Country are creating a sort of Silicon Valley in the Midwest. U.S. Representative Ro Khana, from the Sillicon Valley district in California, attended Orbion’s round table prior to the ribbon cutting. And expressed that it is great to see capitol from private investors in his home, working with companies and schools such as Orbion and Michigan Tech.
“And they’re collaborating with industry. As I travel around the country, a lot of colleges, universities, aren’t as connected to the needs of the private sector. And here they are. And that, I think leads to a high placement rate. (And) It leads to the possibility of start ups and new companies.” – U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, CA – 17 District
Orbion’s new facility will test propulsion systems for department of defense agencies and a couple of private commercial companies. The new facility houses two new vacuum chambers that simulate the conditions experienced in outer space. And can maintain an internal temperature of -400 degree Fahrenheit while a thruster is being tested.