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

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AUSTIN, Texas, Dec. 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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 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 1st Detect to miniaturize mass spectrometers without sacrificing performance," said Thomas B Pickens III, Chairman and CEO of 1st Detect. "The patent clearly validates our technology and both demonstrates and protects the progress we have made in the development of the 1st Detect Miniature Mass Spectrometer."

The patent, entitled "End Cap Voltage Control of Ion Traps", published as USPTO No. 8,334,506, 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 miniature mass spectrometer for both laboratory and field applications," 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 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 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 miniature 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 www.1stDetect.com.

The 1st Detect Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=7997

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 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.

CONTACT: FOR MORE INFORMATION: James Wylde Vice President, Business Development 1st Detect Corporation 972-617-9939 jwylde@1stdetect.com

Source: 1stDetect Corporation