US DoD Funding to Accelerate Spacecraft Platform Development

The funding will expedite component acquisitions and accelerate Xplore’s flight program for its Xcraft spacecraft, designed for use in low Earth orbit, cislunar space, and beyond, to destinations including Venus, Mars and the asteroids By DA Staff / 18 Oct 2021
Xplore Xcraft funding
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Xplore Inc. has received funding from the National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC) within the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to accelerate the development of the Xcraft spacecraft platform. The $2 million contract will culminate with launch in 2023.

“The significant funding NSIC has provided ensures U.S. government and commercial customers will have speedy access to our affordable Xcraft platform,” said Lisa Rich, Founder and COO of Xplore.

“This $2 million award will expedite component acquisitions and accelerate our flight program. We appreciate this investment in Xplore and are proud to be a trusted non-traditional defense contractor for NSIC.” 

Xplore’s standard Xcraft high-performance, high reliability ESPA-class platform provides hosting and other services for a wide variety of customers and payloads. The Xcraft was purposefully designed for use in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), cislunar space and beyond, to destinations including Venus, Mars and the asteroids. The company’s first Xcraft LEO (XLEO) mission in 2023 will directly benefit from NSIC funding.

Xplore invites payload customers to discover hosting opportunities on its XLEO missions. The XLEO service is designed to host a wide variety of customer payloads – from as small as 1U to as large as 50U or more. This service allows customers to focus on their primary business goals without the added time and expense of procuring, launching and operating dedicated satellites. Xplore currently has a Memorandum of Understanding with Accion Systems for XLEO to host TILE, Accion’s next generation ion thruster.

Other impacts of this funding will be evidenced by the company’s recent collaboration with W. M. Keck Observatory, enabling Xplore to accelerate its timeline for the Xplore Space Telescope (XST) missions. These operations will begin soon after the XLEO launches. The Xcraft platform will form the basis for the family of XSTs with missions planned in LEO and the cislunar space region. Commercial space-based telescopes will offer the astronomical community many more options to perform their observations than currently available, and these services will reach market sooner due to the support NSIC has provided to Xplore.

In addition to accelerating the Xcraft, this award is notable for the accelerated pace at which the contract was negotiated. Lisa Rich added, “We were thrilled to negotiate this contract from start to finish in just 21 days. NSIC is clearly committed to Xplore’s success; we are impressed with their ability to expedite and operate at the speed of business.” 

Posted by DA Staff Connect & Contact
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