top of page


Enhances intellectual property portfolio and protects competitive advantages

Austin, TX (November 4, 2015) - 

1st Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (NASDAQ: ASTC), was awarded two patents by the United States Patent Office (USPTO) securing the company’s core ion trap chemical analyzer technology used for chemical detection and analysis.  This increases 1st Detect’s total patent count to 11 U.S. and nine international issued and 11 U.S. and 17 international pending.


“1st Detect’s unique technology creates significant advantages for us in the marketplace, and owning the intellectual property secures our position,” said David Rafferty, the inventor of the novel technology and President and CTO of 1st Detect. “Traditionally, chemical analyzers are large, complex instruments that require scientists to process gases in laboratories and often wait in line to do so. Our affordable process analyzers identify a wider range of chemicals, provide laboratory quality analysis and generate ‘All the Data, All the Time.’ With this patented technology they can be as small as a shoebox and as light as 12 pounds, making them transportable and ideal in the field as well as on the factory floor.”


“Astrotech fosters creativity and innovation that yields disruptive technology in all of our subsidiaries,” said Thomas B. Pickens III, Chairman and CEO of Astrotech Corporation. “These patents protect 1st Detect’s core technology, which we believe will be a great asset as we bring our iONTRAC Process Chemical Analyzer to market. We are proud of our team and will continue to dedicate funds to research and development, as we believe it will deliver return on our investment in the long term.”


The technology underlying the patents enables 1st Detect to target markets that need highly accurate chemical detection and monitoring as well as “All the Data, All the Time.” This includes applications for airport security, food & beverage, semiconductor, pharmaceutical, healthcare, research and environmental and the military.


Recent Patents Granted

  • U.S. Patent No. 8,946,624, entitled, ‘Mass Spectrometer Having an External Detector' represents a key technological advantage for 1st Detect to further miniaturize portable small chemical analyzers without sacrificing the high quality resolution or fast response analysis time, which is a key advantage over competitors’ gas chromatography–mass spectrometer (GC-MS) slow, bulky and expensive solutions. 


  • U.S. Patent No. 8,975,573, entitled, ‘Systems and Methods for Calibrating Mass Spectrometers' represents a key technological advantage for 1st Detect in offering the high quality chemical analysis and fast response time of a chemical analyzer to non-experts, which is a key advantage over traditional laboratory-based chemical analyzers. 


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) identifies and commercializes emerging, disruptive technologies through its closely held subsidiaries. Management employs creativity in execution as well as sources investment opportunities from various government laboratories, agencies, universities, and corporations, as well as through its own internal research. 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, 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 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.





Marketing and PR Contact

Joshua Elbaum

VP, Marketing, Astrotech Corporation/1st Detect Corporation

+1 (512) 485-9530


IR Contact

Cathy Mattison and Kirsten Chapman


+1 (415) 433-3777

bottom of page