Astrotech Corp (NASDAQ:ASTC) investors are busy throwing a party today following the news that the company’s subsidiary, 1st Detect, has received Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approval for its new explosives trace detector, the TRACER 1000. The detector was accepted into the qualified section of the TSA air cargo screening technology list (ACSTL), sending shares skyrocketing nearly 31% to $2.65.
“This represents a major step toward inclusion on TSA’s exclusive Air Cargo Screening Technology List (ACSTL) and having the TRACER 1000 used at cargo facilities worldwide,” said Thomas B. Pickens, CEO of 1st Detect and Astrotech.
In 2007, the 9/11 Commission Act mandated that 100 percent of air cargo loaded onto passenger aircraft must be screened for explosives. The challenge of doing so has only increased in recent years, largely due to a worldwide increase in cargo traffic. Earlier this month, two homemade explosives were shipped via FedEx: one detonated inside a sorting center, injuring a worker, while the other forced the shutdown of a FedEx center near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
With a virtually unlimited library of detectable threats and a near-zero false alarm rate, 1stDetect’s next-generation, mass spectrometry-based ETD was designed to enable air carriers, freight forwarders, shippers and independent cargo facilities to stay ahead of evolving threats while optimizing cargo throughput.
“The recent events that took place in our own backyard only underpin the importance of cargo facilities everywhere having the latest technology for rapidly and accurately detecting explosive threats,” said Raj Mellacheruvu, Chief Operating Officer of 1st Detect and Astrotech.
Astrotech is an innovative science and technology company that invents, acquires, and commercializes technological innovations sourced from research institutions, laboratories, and internally–and then funds, manages and builds scalable start-up companies for profitable divestiture to market leaders to maximize shareholder value. 1st Detect develops and sells chemical analyzers for use in the security, defense, healthcare and environmental markets.