Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced that the SPace Infrastructure DExterous Robot (SPIDER) it is developing for NASA completed its Critical Design Review (CDR). SPIDER is a robotic assembly and manufacturing demonstration included on NASA’s upcoming On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing-1 (OSAM-1) mission. With the CDR complete, Maxar remains on track to deliver the SPIDER hardware to NASA in the first half of 2022.
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This SPIDER rendering shows the robotic arm assembling individual antenna reflector components into one large reflector. Image Credit: Maxar Technologies
SPIDER will demonstrate the ability to robotically assemble and reconfigure spacecraft components while on-orbit. This revolutionary process could allow satellites, telescopes and other systems to use larger and more powerful components that might not fit into a standard rocket fairing when fully assembled. SPIDER will be integrated with the spacecraft bus Maxar is also building for OSAM-1, which will refuel a government-owned satellite that was not originally designed to be serviced on-orbit. Specifically, for OSAM-1, SPIDER will assemble in space seven individual antenna reflector elements to construct one large, precisely shaped antenna reflector.
Maxar has previously delivered six robotic arms for NASA’s Mars rovers and landers, including the Sample Handling Assembly robotic arm on the recently landed Perseverance Rover.
The SPIDER CDR took place over a four-day period in February and demonstrated that the arm design meets NASA mission requirements. NASA missions undergo multiple rigorous technical and programmatic reviews as they proceed through the phases of development prior to launch. The CDR is one of several NASA mission milestones, culminating with the spacecraft’s launch.
“The innovative robotics technologies we are developing for SPIDER have the potential to enable an entirely new era of space infrastructure,” said Robert Curbeam, Maxar’s Senior Vice President of Space Capture. “SPIDER is one of many game-changing programs we have at Maxar. We hope to see this technology leveraged for a multitude of commercial and government space missions, including commercial satellite servicing, in-space telescope assembly and human exploration on the Moon and beyond under NASA’s Artemis program.”
As part of the OSAM-1 mission, SPIDER will also demonstrate in-space manufacturing using Tethers Unlimited’s MakerSat. MakerSat will manufacture a 10-meter lightweight composite beam, verifying its capability to form large spacecraft structures for future missions. As it manufactures the beam, MakerSat will measure the beam’s straightness and mechanical properties to determine if it is built to prescribed requirements.
Maxar first announced it was selected by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate to perform an in-space assembly demonstration using a lightweight robotic arm in January 2020. Maxar is working in partnership with the West Virginia Robotic Technology Center on independent verification of SPIDER’s capabilities through multiple performance studies to increase the reliability of in-space assembly tasks.
Maxar is a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure. We deliver disruptive value to government and commercial customers to help them monitor, understand and navigate our changing planet; deliver global broadband communications; and explore and advance the use of space. Our unique approach combines decades of deep mission understanding and a proven commercial and defense foundation to deploy solutions and deliver insights with unrivaled speed, scale and cost effectiveness. Maxar’s 4,300 team members in over 20 global locations are inspired to harness the potential of space to help our customers create a better world. Maxar trades on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange as MAXR. For more information, visit www.maxar.com.
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