Boeing HorizonX, an innovation and venture organization within Boeing, discovers, shapes and accelerates the next generation of game-changing ideas, products and markets through ventures investments, partnerships and trend discovery.
Accion Systems has a number of launches already scheduled for 2020, including collaborations with student organizations at the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program in Irvine, CA and BeaverCube, an educational mission led by MIT to introduce University students to aerospace science and technology through designing a 3U CubeSat.
Accion also was recently one of fourteen companies selected by NASA as part of its Tipping Point partnership for Moon and Mars technologies. Accion’s in-space propulsion system will be used on replicas of the MarCO CubeSats, NASA’s first cubesats that traveled on an interplanetary mission. Accion will work with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to replace the cold gas propulsion system that was used on the MarCO cubesats with a more efficient ion electrospray propulsion system. Accion received $3.9 million for the project, which was successfully kicked off in January 2020 and will launch in the summer of 2021.
Natalya Bailey, CEO of Accion Systems, said that at the size of a postage stamp, the company’s propulsion system is re-writing the rules of smallsat navigation and maneuverability, The firm is excited to ramp up production and offer clients benefits such as extending mission lifetime, station-keeping, and de-orbiting capabilities.
Brian Schettler, Senior Managing Director of Boeing HorizonX Venture, noted that Accion’s propulsion system brings new capabilities to satellites, space vehicles and ultimately, customers. This support of Accion supports Boeing’s leadership in adopting next-generation technologies to advance satellite capabilities.
Shasta Ventures led Accion’s Series A funding round and Rob Coneybeer sits on Accion’s Board of Directors.
Rob Coneybeer, Managing Director at Shasta Ventures, added that only 60 satellites were launched during the first nine years of space exploration, but now there are that many smallsats launched in a single mission. A new approach to in-space propulsion and smallsat mobility is in order, and the company believes Accion has the solution.