1st Detect Awarded U.S. Patent for Novel Mass Spectrometer Ion Trap Control Technology

1st Detect Awarded U.S. Patent for Novel Mass Spectrometer Ion Trap Control

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 1^st 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 the company's unique method to miniaturize the electrical circuitry for a
mass spectrometer ion trap used for chemical analysis and detection.

"We are extremely pleased that the USPTO has allowed this patent. This patent
is an important component of our intellectual property portfolio as it allows
1^st Detect to miniaturize mass spectrometers without sacrificing
performance," said Thomas B Pickens III, Chairman and CEO of 1^st Detect. "The
patent clearly validates our technology and both demonstrates and protects the
progress we have made in the development of the 1^st Detect Miniature Mass

The patent, entitled "End Cap Voltage Control of Ion Traps", published as
USPTO No. 8,334,506, represents a key technological advantage for 1^st Detect
to optimize the operation of an ion trap using compact and efficient

"The technology protected by this patent supports our objective to offer the
most affordable, high performance miniature mass spectrometer for both
laboratory and field applications," added David Rafferty, the inventor of the
novel technology and President and CTO of 1^st Detect.

1^st 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 1^st
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

About 1^st Detect Corporation

1^stDetect 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. 1^st Detect offers a breakthrough miniature mass spectrometer that
fills an unmet need by being highly accurate, rapid, lightweight, and
cost-effective. For more information on 1^st Detect Corporation, please

The 1st Detect Corporation logo is available at

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. 1^st Detect Corporation is developing a breakthrough miniature
mass spectrometer, while Astrogenetix, Inc. is a biotechnology company
utilizing microgravity as a research platform for drug discovery and

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.

         James Wylde
         Vice President, Business Development
         1st Detect Corporation

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