Agile Space lands propulsion contract for U.S. Space Force mission

Alex Thompson By Alex Thompson Jun7,2024

WASHINGTON — Agile Space Industries has been tapped to develop a propulsion system for True Anomaly’s Jackal vehicle, which was recently selected for the U.S. Space Force’s 2025 “tactically responsive space” mission known as Victus Haze.

Under the agreement, Agile Space — based in Durango, Colorado — will supply the main engines, attitude control thrusters, propellant tanks, and other critical propulsion components for True Anomaly’s spacecraft, slated to launch aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket.

For the Victus Haze mission, True Anomaly said it is developing an advanced “highly propulsive” configuration of the Jackal to enable in-orbit maneuvers, rendezvous, and proximity operations as required by the Space Force.

Companies are co-investing

True Anomaly, a two-year old startup based in Centennial, Colorado, developed Jackal for the military market. The company earlier this week cut 25% of its workforce but said the staff reductions will not impact its ability to execute existing contracts.

Agile Space and True Anomaly are co-investing in a novel chemical propulsion system, said Chris Pearson, CEO of Agile Space, which specializes in in-space propulsion technologies.  The companies are not disclosing specifics on the propellants. 

“It’s a true collaboration,” said Pearson. “The hardware being brought to market is enabled by strategic investments in advanced additive manufacturing and vertically integrated propulsion test capabilities.”

Pearson emphasized the propulsion solution will provide enhanced capabilities compared to traditional systems. “The military wants to perform dynamic operations which require a sophisticated propulsion system that provides high acceleration, high thrust, finesse and efficiency,” he said. 

In the Victus Haze mission, two spacecraft — True Anomaly’s Jackal and another vehicle to be developed by Rocket Lab — will be tasked to perform maneuvers in close proximity. 

Complex mission requirements

“For these rendezvous and proximity operations you don’t just want very high acceleration. You need a very precise, low acceleration type of propulsion. And for a system to be able to give you both of those is actually pretty challenging,” said Pearson.

In addition to the propulsion components, Agile will provide logistics services including handling and spacecraft fuel-loading for the Jackal vehicle. 

The selection of Jackal for the Victus Haze mission comes on the heels of an unsuccessful debut of True Anomaly’s first two vehicles launched in March for a demonstration mission. Pearson said Agile Space did not supply the propulsion systems on those spacecraft.

“Agile’s hardware gives Jackal propulsive capability that has simply not been seen before in a spacecraft of this size,” True Anomaly’s CEO and co-founder Even Rogers said in a statement. 

Alex Thompson

By Alex Thompson

Alex is an award-winning journalist with a passion for investigative reporting. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Alex has covered a wide range of topics from politics to entertainment. Known for in-depth research and compelling storytelling, Alex's work has been featured in major news outlets around the world.

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2 thoughts on “Agile Space lands propulsion contract for U.S. Space Force mission”
  1. What impact will this collaboration between Agile Space and True Anomaly have on future space missions for the U.S. Space Force?

    1. Collaborations like the one between Agile Space and True Anomaly are crucial for advancing space technologies. This partnership will likely enhance the capabilities of future U.S. Space Force missions, enabling more sophisticated in-orbit maneuvers and operations. It’s exciting to see the innovation that will come out of this collaboration.

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