NASA has awarded Maxar Technologies (NYSE: MAXR) a potential $142M contract to demonstrate the potential of a robotic platform to conduct assembly and reconfiguration operations for spacecraft components in low-Earth orbit.
Maxar said Friday it will integrate the Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot with a 1300-class spacecraft bus and use the lightweight arm to assemble various antenna reflector components as part of NASA’s Restore-L satellite refueling project.
SPIDER is designed to produce a singular antenna reflector from disparate parts and use the MakerSat composite beam from aerospace firm Tethers Unlimited.
According to Maxar, the Restore-L project will support missions like the Artemis effort and enable spacecraft such as satellites and telescopes to use larger components beyond the capacity of traditional rocket fairing.
Megan Fitzgerald, senior vice president and general manager for space infrastructure at Maxar, said SPIDER will support “new applications in communications and remote sensing satellites, large in-space assembled telescopes and future exploration missions that support a sustained human presence beyond Earth orbit.”
The new award builds on previous ground demonstration and review efforts related to the robotic arm.
Maxar is building SPIDER at a facility located in Pasadena, Calif.