Orbital Technologies Corporation
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The mission of Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) is to:

Develop, demonstrate, and deploy innovative technologies and advanced products that enhance the quality of human life and support mankind's exploration of the universe.


Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, ORBITEC (A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of Sierra Nevada Corporation(SNC)) is a national leader in aerospace systems development and deployment. Since 1988, ORBITEC has been awarded over $210 million in contracts from government and industry for aerospace subsystems integration, including the two largest Phase III Small Business Innovation Research Programs in NASA's history.

The Company was started in 1988 and is still lead by one of the originating founders, Thomas Crabb. The Company recently was acquired by the Sierra Nevada Corporation in July 2014, and has operated without disruption as a wholly owned subsidiary. The Company’s traditional core strengths are to advance and demonstrate technologies into commercial and highly reliable flight products with its development, engineering, manufacturing, and management capabilities.  Over its 27 year history, the Company has been awarded over 420 contracts worth more than $210 million, and has been profitable since its second year; excluding planned internal investments.  ORBITEC is a Wisconsin corporation wholly owned by the Sierra Nevada Corporation (“SNC”) with headquarters in Madison, and operations in Middleton and Baraboo Wisconsin. The Company meets significant government contract compliance, is certified to ISO 9001, and is certified to AS9100 (last AS9100 audit produced NO findings).


The Company maintains strong and growing product and service capabilities in the following diverse areas:

  • ORBITEC Maneuvering systems.
  • Upper-stage propulsion systems.
  • Booster-stage propulsion systems.
  • Advanced Propellant Systems.


  • Life support and thermal systems for short and long term duration space and aerospace systems.

  • Science automation and control systems for space, science, and other product controls.

  • Controlled environment bioproduction systems and bioproducts for spider silk and pharmaceutical proteins (this activity may be spun off into a separate Bioproduct and BioProduction Systems business unit).


  • Ultra high pressure fire suppression systems for wild land, structural, vehicle, and industrial applications


  • General acquisition and processing systems to use resources from planetary destinations.

  • Automated Equipment to process and harvest oxygen and water from Lunar, Mars, and asteroidal material that was demonstrated in an Earth Analog with control from NASA Mission Control in Houston.

  • Lunar and Mars regolith and simulants.


ORBITEC operates as a separate business with its own structure and rates for competitiveness and agility. It’s capabilities most directly relate to the Sierra Nevada Space Systems Group.


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2011 ORBITEC supports validation of VEGGIE, the first official food production system in space.
2011 Sierra Nevada Corporation Successfully Completes the Acquisition of ORBITEC.
2011 ORBITEC delivers first-ever LED lighting system for Orbital Science's Cygnus Module Spacecraft navigation lighting.
2010 ORBITEC earns multiple NASA opportunities for propulsion and life support space technologies.
The AstroGarden returns to the ISS.
ORBITEC’s HMA Fire unit delivers 14 new T4 Emergency Vehicles to the U.S. Military
2009 Interactive 3D SBU builds training system for COLBERT treadmill on International Space Station.
ORBITEC test fires new Vortex Hybrid Rocket Motor.
2008 ORBITEC opens its first production-scale plant-made protein facility powered with all LED lighting.
The Emergency Response Systems SBU initiates sales of the L1 Mobile Fire Apparatus.
2007 The Emergency Response Systems group completes its first L3 Ultra High Pressure Mobile Fire Apparatus.
The AstroGarden launches to space on STS-118 for three weeks on the ISS.
2006 ORBITEC receives a $25 M IDIQ contract from the US Air Force for the Universal Small Launch Vehicle.
The Bigelow Aerospace Genesis I Spacecraft launches into space and inflates with an ORBITEC valve assembly.
2005 ORBITEC receives ISO 9001:2000 certification.
NASA awards ORBITEC a contract for 16 metric tons of JSC-1A lunar regolith simulant.
2004 ORBITEC’S Hypercosm 3D Software Division releases its first product, the Teleporter for 3ds Max.
NASA awards ORBITEC the second largest SBIR Phase III contract for the Advanced Animal Habitat.
2003 ORBITEC becomes the first small business admitted to the Integrated High Performance Rocket Propulsion Technology (IHPRPT) Consortium.
2002 The Biomass Production System launches to space on STS-110 for 73 days on the ISS.
2000 NASA awards ORBITEC the largest SBIR Phase III contract in its history for the Plant Research Unit.
1999 ORBITEC receives a patent for its Vortex rocket engine technology.
The company wins its second Tibbetts Award.
1996 ORBITEC’S first patent is awarded for Reflected Light Rotation Sensors.
The company receives its first Tibbetts Award from the Small Business Administration.
1995 ORBITEC breaks ground on the Space Center complex in Madison, Wisconsin.
The company is named Wisconsin’s Professional Service Business of the Year.
1993 A new rocket testing facility is opened in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
1991 The company conducts its first hardware test in reduced gravity on the KC-135.
1989 ORBITEC is awarded its first research contract from NASA.
1988 ORBITEC is founded by Dr. Eric Rice, Ron Teeter and Thomas Crabb.
The company wins its first contract for environmental impact testing and assessment.
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Orbital Technologies Corporation Is A Wholly Owned SNC Subsidiary. ORBITEC is a registered trademark of Orbital Technologies Corporation.
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