Astrotech's 1st Detect Awarded U.S. Patent For Novel Pre-Concentration Technology

1st Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation (Nasdaq: ASTC), announced today that the United States Patent Office ("USPTO") has allowed the issuance of a key patent for improving the sensitivity and identification capability of the company's unique ion trap mass spectrometer used for chemical analysis and detection.

"We are extremely pleased that the USPTO has allowed this patent, strengthening our extensive intellectual property portfolio and further defining 1st Detect as the leader in detecting and identifying trace chemicals down to parts per trillion," said Thomas B Pickens III, Chairman and CEO of 1st Detect. "Applications for this patent span all of our target markets from airports and military to the factory floors of semiconductor foundries, petrochemical plants and industrial food processors."

U.S. Patent No. 8,784,737, entitled, 'Introducing an Analyte into a Chemical Analyzer' is a key technological advantage for 1st Detect that can perform chemical separation and improve the sensitivity of portable small mass spectrometers, a key advantage over competitor's slow, bulky and expensive GC-MS solutions.

"This patent protects our ability to offer small and affordable chemical analysis that is able to identify a wide range of chemicals with better sensitivity and speed than competing solutions," added David Rafferty, the inventor of the novel technology and President and CTO of 1st Detect.

1st Detect Corporation has developed an instrument that revolutionizes the chemical detection and analysis market by delivering lab performance mass spectrometry in a small, affordable and easily portable package. The 1st Detect mass spectrometer is capable of detecting a wide range of chemicals including residues and vapors from explosives, chemical warfare agents, toxic chemicals, food and beverage contaminants, and pollutants. These abilities make it an ideal tool for a variety of applications in the research, security, industrial, process flow and healthcare markets.

About 1st Detect Corporation
1st Detect Corporation was formed by Astrotech Corporation (Nasdaq: 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 miniaturized 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 Corporation
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.


Joshua Elbaum
VP, Marketing
+1 (512) 485-9530

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