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Neumann to work with US to turn space junk into fuel


A US Space Force-funded project will work with an Adelaide-based company to pioneer tech that could turn space debris into fuel – while in orbit.

Under the agreement, Colorado-based CisLunar Industries will acquire Neumann Space’s unique electric propulsion system for satellites.

Neumann has previously said its electric technology, called the Neumann Drive, is simpler than traditional chemical propulsion methods and allows for the potential for spacecraft to be effectively refuelled and deorbited easier.  

Herve Astier, the Australian company’s chief executive officer, said that the acquisition will accelerate the company’s commercialisation efforts.


“Our company’s mission is to enable the sustainable economic development of space, and we are proud that our propulsion system will play a role in this project as it seeks to create the foundations for a new circular economy in space,” he said.

“The supply agreement with CisLunar Industries represents the first commercial sale and first export of the Neumann Drive and we are confident that this milestone marks the beginning of an accelerated role for our company in providing off-the-shelf, safe, and easy-to-integrate electric propulsion systems to improve mobility in space.”

CisLunar Industries’ Gary Calnan said as space becomes more congested, military spacecraft need to be able to manoeuvre more easily.

“Our Modular Space Foundry and our partners’ capabilities allow us to turn space debris into propellant for the Neumann Drive, which can then be used to retrieve more space debris, support the Space Force SAML (Space Access, Mobility, and Logistics) mission, and provide materials for in-space manufacturing and construction.


“With the Space Force’s foresight to invest in our combined capabilities, what we are creating now lays the foundation for a full-scale industrial economy in space.”

The news comes a month after Neumann Space installed its first Neumann Drive onto a satellite.

“In the rapidly evolving new space economy, there is a growing need for better propulsion. Whether it is deorbiting at the end of a mission’s life, navigating into the most effective orbit, or manoeuvring away from growing space junk, we are seeing an increasing demand for our products,” Astier said.


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