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Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC) Positioning TRACER 1000(TM) as Next-Generation Solution for the Explosive Trace Detector Market

  • 1st Detect, a wholly owned subsidiary of mass spectrometry company Astrotech, is offering its breakthrough TRACER 1000(TM) Explosive Trace Detector (“ETD”) in markets that accept ECAC certification
  • The TRACER 1000(TM) ETD is designed to outperform ETDs currently used at airports, cargo and other secured facilities, as well as at borders
  • Astrotech is working to position its product as the next-generation solution for the ETD market at a time when many of the existing IMS-based ETDs are due for replacement

Keenly watching the developments in the field of explosives and narcotics detection at airports is Astrotech (NASDAQ: ASTC), a mass spectrometry company that, through its wholly owned subsidiary, 1st Detect, has developed and rolled out the breakthrough TRACER 1000(TM) Explosive Trace Detector (“ETD”). The world’s first mass spectrometry-based ETD certified by the European Civil Aviation Conference (“ECAC”), the TRACER 1000(TM) is designed to outperform the ETDs currently used at aviation checkpoints as well as borders, cargo facilities, and other secured points around the world.

It is powered by the Astrotech Mass Spectrometer (“AMS”) Technology that is inexpensive, smaller, and easier to use when compared to traditional mass spectrometers. The AMS Technology works under ultra-high vacuum, which eliminates competing molecules, resulting in higher resolution and fewer false alarms.

Normally, ETDs are used at the secondary screening stage at airports. They aid in additional examination of passengers following the detection of something on their person during primary screening. An ETD is designed to assess and analyze samples taken by wiping a passenger’s hands, clothes, or belongings with a swab that is subsequently inserted into the detector.

Astrotech nonetheless believes that ETD customers are unsatisfied with the currently deployed ETD technology, which is driven by ion mobility spectrometry (“IMS”). “The company further believes that some IMS-based ETDs have issues with false positives, as they often misidentify personal care products and other common household chemicals as explosives, causing facility shutdowns, unnecessary delays, frustrations, and significant wasted security resources. In addition, there are hundreds of different types of explosives, but IMS-based ETDs have a very limited threat detection library reserved only for those few explosives of largest concern,” wrote Astrotech in its most recent Form 10-K annual filing (

Against this backdrop and as many of the tens of thousands of IMS instruments deployed in the field near their end of life and need replacement, Astrotech is working to position its TRACER 1000(TM) product as the next-generation solution for the ETD market. “Based on our near-zero false alarm rate, we believe that the TRACER 1000(TM) improves checkpoint efficiency and passenger throughput by reducing the need for time-consuming and invasive secondary screenings that cost airports millions in lost merchandise and food sales,” said Thomas B. Pickens III, Chairman and CEO of 1st Detect, in a May 2023 news release announcing a significant purchased order for its next-generation solution (

Astrotech is currently offering the TRACER 1000(TM) to countries that accept ECAC certification while awaiting Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) certification. Last year, the company received a 17-unit order to deploy the TRACER 1000(TM) ETDs in Europe and another significant purchase order for seven detectors to be deployed in a European airport in Romania (

For more information, visit the company’s website at

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to ASTC are available in the company’s newsroom at

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