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TechCrunch Space: Rapidly responsive... space stations!?

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. Let's jump in!

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Story of the week

While there are scant details as to the mission profile, I can't help but feel ultra-intrigued by this news from space station developer Gravitics, which was selected to develop orbital platforms to enable rapid response space missions.

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Gravitics co-founder and CMO Mike DeRosa did clarify in an email that the company is not putting a module on a rocket for a tactically responsive launch. Instead, the mission is related to developing “platforms to enable a new kind of tactically responsive space mission,” he said.

Gravitics station render
Gravitics station render

Image Credits: Gravitics

Scoop of the week

Defense and space startup True Anomaly has laid off around 25% of staff, and canceled its summer internship program, TechCrunch learned.

While TechCrunch could not confirm the total headcount prior to these layoffs, True Anomaly had over 100 employees as of December 2023, it told the Denver Business Journal. Nearly 30 people were cut from the workforce, according to a post on LinkedIn from one of the people let go.

What we're reading

I learned a lot from this deep dive by SpaceNews' Sandra Erwin and Debra Werner, who explored how the Space Force's push for a proliferated constellation of satellites is exposing weaknesses in the U.S. industrial base.

Image of Uncle Sam floating in space with the Space Force logo above his left shoulder.
Image of Uncle Sam floating in space with the Space Force logo above his left shoulder.

Image Credits: TechCrunch

This week in space history

On May 1, 1961, the great Alan Shepard became the first American to enter space when he piloted his capsule on a 15-minute suborbital flight. (If his name sounds familiar, it's because Blue Origin's suborbital rocket is named after him!)

Alan Shepard
Alan Shepard

Image Credits: NASA (opens in a new window)