Portal Space Systems on April 30, announcing that it has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Defense worth more than $3,000,000. These funds, as well as an undisclosed private investment, will be used to develop a space tugboat called Supernova

Jeff Thornburg and his team have developed a “satellite bus” that can move a satellite from low-Earth orbit to geostationary orbit in a matter of hours. This distinguishes it from traditional spacecraft, which are built to carry exactly as much propulsion power as needed to maintain orbit.

Portal Space Systems says the 500-kilogram Supernova will not depend on payloads and will be able to spend at least five years in space with constant maneuvering. For this purpose, a new solar-thermal propulsion system has been developed that provides a speed of 6 kilometers per second.

The first flight demonstration of the satellite is planned for late 2025 or early 2026.