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Austin, TX (May 4, 2016) - 

1st  Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC), was awarded three patents by the United States Patent Office (USPTO) enabling the field use of ion trap chemical analyzers in harsh and demanding environments.  These recent awards bring 1st Detect’s total patent count to 16 U.S. and 10 international issued and 8 U.S. and 12 international pending as of April 30, 2016.


“These patents build upon our expanding IP portfolio that protects our technology enabling advanced chemical analysis to be performed reliably under adverse conditions commonly found in the field,” said Thomas B. Pickens III, Chairman and CEO of Astrotech Corporation. “Safeguarding this ability maintains a key differentiator, particularly as we pursue a broader range of markets from the battlefield to the factory floor. We are excited about the market opportunities, and, in fact, several Fortune 500 companies are already evaluating our chemical analyzers for use in the semiconductor and the food & beverage industries.”


  • U.S. Patent No. 9,312,112 titled, ‘Evacuating a Sample Chamber’ describes an alternative method for introducing volatile and semi-volatile samples into a mass spectrometer. The use of swab sampling for the collection and transfer of illicit materials to chemical analyzers for threat detection is widely used throughout the security sector. However, the standard practice of heating these swabs to achieve gaseous transfer of the sample to the analyzer often results in thermal degradation of the analytes, thereby limiting one’s ability to detect thermally sensitive components. This most recent patent from 1st Detect provides a novel approach to achieving efficient transfer by utilizing reduced pressure conditions to increase the analytes’ vapor pressure. In this way, improved transfer of the un-degraded sample can be accomplished.


  • Japanese Patent No. 5,895,034 titled, ‘End cap voltage control of ion traps’ represents another significant innovation in ion trap technology pioneered by 1st Detect. This enhancement to the design and operation of miniaturized ion trap mass spectrometers enables improved system performance in terms of extending both the range of ion masses that can be detected as well as the range of sample concentrations that can be monitored. These improvements allow 1st Detect’s miniaturized mass spectrometers to obtain levels of performance that have previously only been obtainable by much larger systems.


  • U.S. Patent No. 9,299,545 titled, ‘Systems and Methods for Calibrating Mass Spectrometers’ represents a key technological advantage for 1st Detect to deploy its novel miniature chemical analyzer technology into security and industrial applications where the size and complexity of traditional mass spectrometers have prevented their use. The technology protected by this patent allows the mass calibration system of the instrument to operate successfully regardless of orientation or vibration, while minimizing size and cost. It also allows easy servicing of the calibration element without the need for tools or advanced training.


About 1st Detect Corporation

1st Detect, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC), develops, manufactures, and sells  powerful, sensitive, and accurate chemical analyzers that streamline processes for industrial use in the food and beverage, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, healthcare, research, and environmental markets, as well as for government applications used in explosive and chemical warfare detection for the Department of Homeland Security and the military. The company’s core mass spectrometry technology was first developed under an agreement with NASA for use on the International Space Station. The unit is capable of detecting a wide variety of chemicals including residues and vapors from explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic chemicals, food & beverage contaminants, and pollutants. These capabilities, combined in an economically priced, transportable, and ruggedized solution, make it an ideal tool for a variety of applications.  For more information on 1st Detect Corporation, please visit


About Astrotech Corporation

Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC) is an innovative science and technology company that invents, acquires and commercializes technological innovations sourced from research institutions, laboratories, universities, and internally and then funds, manages, and builds proprietary, scalable start-up companies for profitable divestiture to market leaders to maximize shareholder value. Sourced from Oak Ridge Laboratory’s chemical analyzer research, 1st Detect develops, manufactures, and sells chemical analyzers that streamline processes for industrial use in the airport security, food and beverage, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, research and environmental markets, and the military. Sourced from decades of image research from the laboratories of IBM and Kodak combined with classified satellite technology from government laboratories, Astral Images sells film to digital image enhancement, defect removal and color correction software, and post processing services providing economically feasible conversion of television and feature 35mm and 16mm films to the new 4K ultra-high definition (UHD), high-dynamic range (HDR) format necessary for the new generation of digital distribution. Sourced from NASA’s extensive microgravity research, Astrogenetix is applying a fast-track on-orbit discovery platform using the International Space Station to develop vaccines and other therapeutics. Demonstrating its entrepreneurial strategy, Astrotech management sold its state-of-the-art satellite servicing operations to Lockheed Martin in August 2014. Astrotech has operations throughout Texas and is headquartered in Austin. For information, please visit


This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, trends, and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from the forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, whether we can successfully develop our proprietary technologies and whether the market will accept our products and services, as well as other risk factors and business considerations described in the Company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings including the annual report on Form 10-K. Any forward-looking statements in this document should be evaluated in light of these important risk factors. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.


Company Contact

Raj Mellacheruvu

Chief Operating Officer

Astrotech Corporation

(512) 485-9530


Investor Relations Contact

Cathy Mattison and Kirsten Chapman


(415) 433-3777

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