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A spider robot to repair orbiting satellites for NASA’s OSAM-1 mission

NASA has announced that its OSAM-1 (Service In Orbit, Assembly, and Fabrication Mission 1) mission has passed the critical design review phase. This mission will be the first to refuel a satellite that is not scheduled for maintenance.

So far, this idea has sounded like science fiction, but Maxar Technologies’ smart robot (spider) infrastructure is real. With that, NASA is hoping for a proof of concept and, as the OSAM-1 version says, to break that model with its payload.

The Orbit Refueling and Repair Project has benefited from NASA’s investment since 2015, through the program turning point.

The spider robot has two robotic arms for refueling and repairs

The repair payload includes 16 subsystems such as tools, sighting systems, and two robotic arms. The spacecraft that will carry the OSAM-1 mission has a height of 4.2 meters and has been waiting for its payload since May 2021. The feat was achieved by the agency and Maxar Technologies less than a year later.

In this evaluation phase, NASA engineers have confirmed that the OSAM-1 design is ready and meets the specified requirements. The next step is to manufacture, assemble and integrate this robot ship.

In the video above, you can watch a simulation of a spider robot repairing a satellite in orbit. In the photo illustrating this post, we see an illustration of the refueling OSAM-1 Landsat 7, which was launched in 1999. It was chosen for the first test of the mission, during its launch, which is supposed to last until 2025.

The initial goal of the OSAM-1 mission is the repair and maintenance of already launched satellites, but in the long term it will be a question of building and assembling equipment in orbit. It’s impossible not to think about building and repairing Star Trek stations.

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Source: Ars Technica

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