Press Release

1st Detect Delivers Miniature Mass Spectrometer to NASA/Johnson Space Center

By SpaceRef Editor
December 18, 2012
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1st Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (ASTC), announced today that it has completed the delivery and installation of a miniature mass spectrometer (MMS-1000(TM)) to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.

“Delivery of the MMS-1000(TM) unit to NASA represents a significant milestone for 1st Detect. The Company was formed many years ago to meet the challenging requirements of a Space Act Agreement that was signed with NASA in 2006, to develop a mass spectrometer for manned spaceflight. Due to stringent guidelines, David Rafferty, our President and CTO, and the development team were faced with the unique challenge to build an innovative mini mass spectrometer with low power requirements and a small footprint, but still provided laboratory mass spectrometer performance. We at 1st Detect are very proud to have exceeded our original goal and have now delivered the MMS-1000(TM) to NASA for ground evaluation. I feel honored to be working with this very talented and motivated team of innovative professionals that have accomplished this technological breakthrough, which has proven to have many valuable industrial and security applications beyond the space program.” said Thomas B Pickens III, Chairman and CEO of 1st Detect.

The instrument, the MMS-1000(TM) Miniature Mass Spectrometer, is a breakthrough in ion trap technology that brings laboratory quality analysis to remote and harsh locations.

“From inception, the technology developed by the team at 1st Detect was designed to meet the demands of harsh environments.” added David Rafferty, the President and CTO of the Company. “In addition, these stringent requirements enable a variety of applications outside of the laboratory in environments where traditional mass spectrometers are unable to operate.”

1st Detect Corporation has developed an instrument that revolutionizes the chemical detection and analysis market by delivering lab performance mass spectrometry in a highly accurate, rapid, lightweight, and cost-effective instrument. The 1st Detect mini mass spectrometer’s broad capabilities make it an ideal tool for a variety of applications in the research, security, industrial, process flow and healthcare markets; and is capable of detecting a wide variety of chemicals including residues and vapors from explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic chemicals, food and beverage contaminants and pollutants.

About 1st Detect Corp.

1st Detect Corporation was formed by Astrotech Corporation (ASTC) to develop and commercialize miniature mass spectrometer technology first developed under an agreement with NASA for use on the International Space Station. 1st Detect offers a breakthrough miniature mass spectrometer that fills an unmet need by being highly accurate, rapid, lightweight, and cost-effective. For more information on 1st Detect Corporation, please visit

About Astrotech Corp.

Astrotech is one of the first space commerce companies and remains a strong entrepreneurial force in the aerospace industry. We are leaders in identifying, developing and marketing space technology for commercial use. Our Astrotech Space Operations business unit serves our government and commercial satellite and spacecraft customers with pre-launch services on the eastern and western range. 1st Detect Corporation has developed a breakthrough miniature mass spectrometer, while Astrogenetix, Inc. is a biotechnology company utilizing microgravity as a research platform for drug discovery and development.

SpaceRef staff editor.