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Austin, TX (May 28, 2009) - 

1st Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (Nasdaq: ASTC), announced today it is the recipient of a Phase I award from the U.S. Army’s Chemical and Biological Defense (CBD) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. The award will go to the development of a novel sample inlet system to significantly improve the sensitivity of mass spectrometers.


“1st Detect is proud to receive this SBIR award from the U.S. Army as it clearly demonstrates the successful commercial transition of a space based technology,” commented John Porter, chief executive officer for the Company.


The Chemical and Biological Defense Small Business Innovation Research Program was created to develop and transition innovative CBD technologies between the Department of Defense and the private sector for mutual benefit. The program targets those technology efforts that maximize a strong defensive posture in a biological or chemical environment using passive and active means as deterrents.


“The development of this new technology will greatly enhance the military’s ability to detect chemical threats by increasing the sensitivity of mass spectrometers by orders of magnitude,” added David Rafferty, president and chief technology officer for 1st Detect.


With this grant, 1st Detect will build on its existing technology to develop a sample inlet system that will improve the ability to detect chemicals using a mass spectrometer. Upon meeting certain milestones and establishing project feasibility, the work may lead to a Phase II SBIR project to develop a prototype.


About 1st Detect Corporation

1st Detect Corporation was formed by Astrotech Corporation (Nasdaq: ASTC) to commercialize miniature-mass spectrometer technology first developed for the International Space Station (ISS). 1st Detect offers the Miniature Chemical Detector, a breakthrough device in mass spectrometry that fills a niche by being highly accurate, lightweight, battery-powered, durable and inexpensive. The 1st Detect ion trap based design is roughly the size of a shoe box, weighs approximately 12 pounds, and is capable of battery operation. Additionally, the Miniature Chemical Detector is capable of detecting residues and vapors from explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic chemicals, food and beverage contamination, illicit drugs and pollution. It is also very sensitive, accurate, and fast which provides orders of magnitude better informing power than competing products. For more information about 1st Detect, please see our website at


About Astrotech Corporation


Astrotech is a commercial and entrepreneurial force in the space industry providing a full spectrum of products and services to both the government and private sectors. The Company offers spacecraft prelaunch processing facilities and services, production of valuable commercial products in space, development and extension of space-based products to the consumer market, space access and payload integration services program and engineering support ranging from development and manufacturing of flight hardware to large scale government project management.


The statements in this document may contain 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, continued government support and funding for key space programs, product performance and market acceptance of products and services, as well as other risk factors and business considerations described in the company's Securities & 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.

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