Smallsat Innovator Accion Systems Expands Executive Team With Appointment of New VP of Engineering

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Smallsat Innovator Accion Systems Expands Executive Team With Appointment of New VP of Engineering

Accion Systems today announced that Mr. Chris Norman has joined the company as Vice President of Engineering. Accion develops technologies for the new space industry including advanced satellite propulsion systems.  Mr. Norman will lead engineering, manufacturing and mission assurance at Accion.

Prior to joining Accion, Mr. Norman served as Vice President of Operations at CyPhy Works Inc., a leader in developing innovative unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for government and commercial customers.  In his role at CyPhy Works, Mr. Norman directed engineering, manufacturing and program management. His team developed unique tethered drone technology used on CyPhy Works’ products. The Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communication (PARC) system passed Army testing and is deployed in operations. Other products include a unique tethered drone for indoor environments, the Pocket Flyer.  

As iRobot Corporation’s Director of Engineering for Defense and Security Systems, Mr. Norman managed an engineering team that designed and produced more than two thousand explosive-handling robots that were used in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Operations Enduring Freedom. Previously, Mr. Norman developed and led iRobot’s business on the Army’s Future Combat Systems program that ultimately produced several hundred robots used by soldiers in combat operations. Mr. Norman served as the Chief Technology Officer at Emerging Science & Technologies and Mechatron, companies that provided robotics technologies and services.

“Chris has worked on many cutting-edge engineering initiatives, and also managed development teams bringing innovative products to market,” said Natalya Bailey, CEO of Accion Systems.  “We are thrilled to have Chris on board as we execute on our aerospace ambitions.”

Accion develops in-space propulsion technologies that optimize scalability, performance and efficiency, making it easier and more affordable for companies and people to explore space.

“Accion Systems is a trailblazer in the smallsat industry, and its ion propulsion system is groundbreaking,” said Chris Norman.  “Accion combines the energy of the new aerospace industry with innovative technology in a way that was too great an opportunity to be missed.”

Mr. Norman began his career developing explosives detection and handling robots with Orbiting Astronomical Observatories (OAO) Corporation where he performed software and mechanical engineering Mr. Norman earned a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. 

About Accion Systems
Accion Systems develops advanced satellite propulsion systems for the space industry.  Accion’sin-space propulsion technologies optimize scalability, performance and efficiency.  Accion’s flagship product, TILE, uses proprietary ion electrospray thrusters, bringing electric propulsion to satellites of all sizes and redefining in-space capabilities.  Accion Systems was founded in 2014 by two MIT engineers, Natalya Bailey and Louis Perna, and is based in Boston, MA.  For more information, please visit www.accion-systems.com or follow the company @AccionSystems

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Accion Team and Natalya and Louis nab NEVY 2016 Nominations!

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Accion Team and Natalya and Louis nab NEVY 2016 Nominations!

Accion was announced as a nominee for Hottest Seed Startup at the 2016 NEVY Awards, hosted by the New England Venture Capital Association and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., to celebrate entrepreneurship in New England across the Tech and Life Science communities!  In addition, our own fearless leaders -- cofounders Natalya and Louis -- were also nominated for another NEVY, the Rising Star award. 

 

This year’s nominees were selected by an academy of judges composed of last year’s winners, experts in the technology and life science industries and Boston’s industry experts who have made an impact on the city’s entrepreneurial and venture capital landscape.

 

The 2016 NEVY Award winners will be announced at Boston’s House of Blues on Wednesday, May 18, 2016.  If you’d like to come and cheer us on (and chat about space!?), please visit http://attend.com/2016NEVYAwards to purchase tickets!

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Accion's 2015 year in review

Accion effectively came into being in early 2015 when we raised some seed funding. Then we got really busy and you haven't heard from us in a while. So as we head into what is hopefully another fast-paced, anything-but-boring year, let us recap some highlights from 2015.

We moved into our own facilities and set up shiny new propulsion system manufacturing, assembly, and test equipment. We're HQ'd in Boston so come check us out if you're in the area.

We won a $3MM DoD development contract, completed a military research contract, cashed our first commercial checks, signed up as the main propulsion for some cool science missions, and are in talks with a partner to become the standard on every satellite they sell.

We (ok mostly MIT) flew our technology in space and confirmed that the laws of physics are true up there and our systems do indeed move satellites around.

We got rated by Fortune Magazine as most likely to someday be valued at over $1B at their annual Brainstorm Tech conference.

We hired talent and set up capabilities to get cracking on R&D so we can start growing in other areas.

And to answer the burning questions I've just instilled: yes, we are hiring, and you can buy your system in mid-2017.

Until next year!

Accion team

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Accion wins Fortune Magazine's Unicorn Idol competition!

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Accion wins Fortune Magazine's Unicorn Idol competition!

Accion nabbed a spot at Fortune Magazine's Brainstorm Tech conference this week in Aspen, CO. Natalya pitched against 4 other startups in an attempt to convince the audience that Accion could one day be worth at least $1B, which would move the team into the realm of companies referred to as "unicorns" by the Valley. 

The judges for the contest were Brad Feld, Amy Banse, and Donald Sterling, though ultimately the audience voted for the winner. Accion won the contest and a set of Herman Miller office furniture, and Natalya got to mingle all week with inspirational folks like many Fortune 500 CEOs and the CTO of the US, Megan Smith.

The Fortune Mag coverage is here; stay tuned to the print/web edition of Fortune for a spread on Natalya and Accion.

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Accion announces $3MM DoD Rapid Innovation Fund award

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Accion announces $3MM DoD Rapid Innovation Fund award

Accion Systems, a small satellite propulsion company, won a $3MM grant to advance its propulsion systems.

June 17, 2015—Accion Systems Inc. today announced it has been awarded a $3MM Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) contract from the Department of Defense. The RIF program was established to facilitate the rapid insertion of innovative technologies into military systems. Through this effort, Accion will advance its next-generation electric propulsion system.

Accion has demonstrated smaller products for the increasingly popular CubeSat form factor since raising its seed round in December of 2014 and is also under contract to investigate novel methods for higher-thrust systems using the same hardware. CEO Natalya Brikner says of this award and other recent progress that “our team is excited to take our technology to the next level of performance and capability with so many strong partners behind us.” A flight demonstration was launched last month but the propulsion system is still waiting its turn in the mission’s order of operations before it will be turned on and evaluated.

To meet demand from the rapidly growing small satellite sector, the MIT-spinout is expanding into new facilities outside of Boston and is recruiting for several positions including mechanical engineers, a production and quality engineer, and a program manager.

About Accion Systems Inc.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Cambridge MA, Accion Systems Inc. develops advanced technologies for the new space industry. Accion’s propulsion systems are some of the first that can add maneuverability and lifetime to small satellites; the same systems can be scaled up to support satellites up to 2000 kg. Learn more at www.accion-systems.com.

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Accion successfully tests its first product!

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Accion successfully tests its first product!

This week, our team tested our first product, MIN-0!

Since raising our seed round, we've been busy designing and building our first prototype of a gum pack-sized product called MIN-0.

MIN-0 was designed in collaboration with an industry partner and includes the thruster head, power electronics, and propellant tanks and supply system. MIN-0 produces enough thrust to detumble a CubeSat launched from the International Space Station, or to compensate for atmospheric drag in Low Earth Orbit.

Rendering of MIN-0.

Rendering of MIN-0.

During tests, MIN-0 provided an impressive 30 uN of thrust (as inferred from current measurements). Tests were performed in vacuum to simulate operation in space.

With this successful design, build, and test under our belt, we're kicking off development of our next products, which will add more thrust, higher efficiency, and increased lifetime to enable missions like orbit raising and interplanetary transfers for satellites up to 150 kg.

David setting up the power electronics board for MIN-0.

David setting up the power electronics board for MIN-0.

Sample test results. Sorry, no labels.

Sample test results. Sorry, no labels.


 

Even I got to help with testing!

 
 

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Accion Systems Inc. raises $2MM to develop next-generation propulsion systems for satellites

Accion Systems, a startup printing advanced propulsion systems, raises $2MM from FF Science, RRE Ventures, Founder Collective, and others to develop its first product and begin filling pre-orders.

January 5, 2015—Accion Systems Inc. announces a $2MM seed round to support product development and initial sales of its ion electrospray propulsion technology. The round was led by FF Science and included RRE Ventures, SDF Ventures, Founder Collective, Galvanize Ventures, Samuel Lessin, Slow Ventures, Tim Tokarsky, Rene Reinsberg, Marek Oszlewski, GettyLab and TechU Angels.

Accion develops advanced electric propulsion systems that provide critical capabilities for small satellites. Over the past year, the team has started taking pre-orders for their first product, which is in development and will launch later in 2015. Accion CEO and founder Natalya Brikner says “our unique propellants and novel manufacturing techniques let us break from slow, expensive aerospace tradition and leverage advances in areas like 3D printing and nanofabrication”.

This round of fundraising will support product development and sales, R&D into next-generation materials and manufacturing techniques, and hiring. Accion is currently looking for engineers, materials scientists and a sales and business development person. Interested candidates can apply at www.accion-systems.com.

About Accion Systems Inc.
Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Cambridge MA, Accion Systems Inc. develops advanced technologies for the new space industry. The company's propulsion systems are some of the first that can turn affordable satellites into capable ones. Learn more at www.accion-systems.com

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