Robotic demonstration paves way for commercial in-space operations
DENVER, July 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Nanoracks, powered by Voyager Space, today announced its second Bishop Airlock mission with GITAI, a Japanese space robotics startup. The project, marking the two companies’ second collaboration, will involve demonstrating “S2,” GITAI’s 1.5 meter-class dexterous robotic system, on the Bishop Airlock – the first permanent, commercial platform added to the International Space Station.
In 2021, Nanoracks and GITAI successfully completed their first mission, demonstrating how leveraging the Bishop Airlock, a GITAI robot can execute versatile tasks such as In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM) and help save valuable astronaut time by robotically handling necessary crew activities. The second mission will demonstrate an expansion of these capabilities. ISAM tasks will be demonstrated in an externally hosted site on the Bishop Airlock and are intended to showcase GITAI’s capability of providing extravehicular robotic systems that are durable in a space environment. This mission will utilize a full open-close cycle of the Bishop Airlock
“This mission is a key stepping-stone towards commercialization of LEO enabling both government and private sectors to obtain robust and high-performance robotics in space,” said Dr. Amela Wilson, CEO of Nanoracks. “We look forward to completing a successful demonstration of GITAI’s space robotics technology.”
Notably, GITAI’s latest technical demonstration will be key in exhibiting how commercial activities could be conducted on Starlab, Nanoracks’ and Voyager’s planned continuously crewed, free-flying commercial space station, for payloads and other potentially needed maintenance.
“Missions like this allow the Nanoracks team to test and execute on space station operations that will be critical for customer success on Starlab,” continues Wilson. “The International Space Station is a testbed that continues to provide unparalleled opportunities for Nanoracks to master executing in-space activities, and we’re grateful for NASA’s continued support on the ISS today, and for the onboarding of new commercial space stations.”
“There are a tremendous number of applications in space that our robotic arm can be used for, including on-orbit servicing and lunar exploration, and we are thrilled to be able to partner with Nanoracks yet again,” said Sho Nakanose, founder and CEO of GITAI. “Our vision is to provide an affordable and safe means of labor in space, and this opportunity on the Bishop Airlock brings us one step closer to making that happen.”
For more information on the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, visit: https://nanoracks.com/bishop-airlock/
Nanoracks, powered by Voyager Space, is a global leader for providing commercial space services. Nanoracks owns and operates private hardware on the International Space Station and has launched over 1,300 research experiments, deployed over 300 small satellites, and installed the Bishop Airlock. Today, Nanoracks leverages over a decade of experience to develop new commercial space systems in direct response to customer needs. These space systems include converting commercial launch vehicle upper stages into functional secondary platforms, building new habitable space stations, supplying payload and crew airlock systems and services infrastructure, and more.
About Voyager Space
Voyager Space is a space technology company dedicated to building a better future for humanity in space and on Earth. With nearly 20 years of spaceflight heritage and over 1500 successful missions as of July 2022, Voyager delivers space station infrastructure and services and technology solutions to commercial users, civil and national security government agencies, academic and research institutions, and more, with the goal to accelerate a sustainable space economy.
GITAI is a space robotics startup that aims to provide an affordable and safe means of labor in space. GITAI is developing general-purpose space robots that can perform inexpensive and safe operations of the following activities:
- EVA (Extra-Vehicular Activity) and IVA (Intra-Vehicular Activity) on Space Stations
- Docking, mission extension, maintenance and repairs for ISAM (satellite servicing and space debris removal)
- Lunar exploration and lunar base construction related tasks
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