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Orbital Express

In 2007, the Orbital Express mission by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) demonstrated, for the first time, that a robotic spacecraft could safely and cost-effectively service a satellite while on-orbit. With our robotic system, a successful transfer of orbital replacement units for a battery and functional computer was performed.

On-orbit first

As part of this milestone mission, we developed the integrated robotic solution including the rotary joint robotic arm used to capture the free-flying satellite, its flight avionics, vision and targeting system, and the ground control segment.

Info

  • 5 in – The height of the “mini” grasping fixture used for operation
  • 6 – Degrees of freedom on the robotic arm
  • 950 kg – Mass of the servicing satellite
  • 94.49 minutes – The time it takes for the servicing satellite to orbit Earth