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1st Detect Awarded EU Patent for Chemical Detection Technology

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Austin, TX -- 1st Detect Corporation, a subsidiary of Astrotech Corporation, announced today that the European Patent Office (EPO) has issued a key patent for the company's unique method to drive a mass spectrometer ion trap used for chemical analysis and detection.

"We are extremely pleased that the EPO has issued this patent, in conjunction with its USPTO counterpart US 7,973,227 issued on 05 Jul 2011. This patent is an important component of our intellectual property portfolio as it covers our unique ion trap technology." said Thomas B Pickens III, Chairman of 1st Detect and CEO of Astrotech. "Europe is a very important market for our technology and this patent both demonstrates and protects the progress we have made in the development of the 1st Detect Miniature Mass Spectrometer."

The patent, entitled "Driving a Mass Spectrometer Ion Trap or Mass Filter," represents a key technological advantage for 1st Detect to optimize the operation of an ion trap using compact and efficient circuitry.

"The technology protected by this patent supports our objective to offer the most affordable, high performance mass spectrometer for both laboratory and field applications." added David Rafferty, the inventor of the Patent (EU 2 301 061) and President of the Company.

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 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 pollution products.

About 1st Detect Corp.

1st Detect Corporation was formed by Astrotech Corporation to develop and commercialize miniature-mass spectrometer technology first developed under an agreement with NASA for use on the International Space Station (ISS). 1st Detect offers what we believe is a breakthrough mini-mass spectrometry technology that fills an unmet need by being highly accurate, rapid, lightweight, durable 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 is developing what we believe is a breakthrough miniature mass spectrometer, while Astrogenetix, Inc. is a biotechnology company utilizing microgravity as a research platform for drug discovery and development.

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.

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