Starfish Space regains control...


Starfish Space regains control of a tumbling spacecraft on an orbital mission

Space control mission
The Silicon Review
30 August, 2023

The Otter Pup had been on a space tug run by Launcher when trouble began.

Washington-based startup Starfish Space has regained control over its tumbling Otter Pup spacecraft, which had been on its first orbital mission. The space mission company will subject the craft's onboard systems to an "extensive checkout" and look for an alternative partner for its rendezvous, proximity, and docking (RPD) mission. The Otter Pup had been on a space tug run by Launcher when trouble began. After Launcher's mission commanders deployed the craft's onboard payloads in an attempt to save it, the Otter Pup also began tumbling. Starfish engineers eventually came up with a solution to use the spacecraft's magnetic torque rod to decrease its tumbling.

Once the craft has passed its health check, Starfish must find a new partner to demonstrate its RPD abilities, which had originally been planned as an exercise with the space tug. Launcher is now owned by Vast. Starfish's successful control of the tumbling spacecraft is a boost for the startup, which had been planning to use the mission to demonstrate its in-space servicing technology capabilities. The company aims to develop a satellite-servicing infrastructure that can assemble, repair, and upgrade spacecraft, which would help extend their lifespan and lower the cost of accessing space.