MDA recognized by Nasa for robotic servicing of International Space Station

nasa ssl robotic spacecraft to fix satellites
Artist’s illustration of the robotic spacecraft which will float around in space, fixing satellites. Picture courtesy of SSL

MDA US Systems, a division of MDA managed by SSL, has been recognized by Nasa’s Johnson Space Center for its “outstanding support” of a robotic upgrade to the International Space Station’s power system which took place in January.

The MDA team based in Houston played a critical role in planning and validating the robotic maneuvering both before and during the mission.

Nasa JSC ground controllers used the 15-degrees-of-freedom Special Purpose Dextrous Manipulator (Dextre) arm to install six new 430-pound lithium-ion batteries in two power channel integrated electronics assembly pallets.

Dextre first removed 12 older and depleted 740-pound nickel-hydrogen batteries from the pallets, nine of which were put on the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle’s external pallet to burn up on re-entry with it.  Continue reading MDA recognized by Nasa for robotic servicing of International Space Station

Nasa places order with SSL for robotic spacecraft which will fix satellites in orbit

New craft will be used to service satellites out in space 

Nasa has placed an order with Space Systems Loral for a robotic spacecraft which will go and fix satellites while in orbit. 

Nasa calls it the Restore-L servicing mission, and it is designed to demonstrate the ability to extend the life of a satellite in Low Earth Orbit. Scheduled launch is in 2020.

The Restore-L spacecraft will use robotics to grasp, refuel and relocate an existing US government satellite already in LEO orbit with the goal of demonstrating tools, technologies and techniques that can be implemented on future government and commercial missions.  Continue reading Nasa places order with SSL for robotic spacecraft which will fix satellites in orbit

Nasa to send solar-powered robotic spacecraft on mission to look for alien life on asteroid

Nasa is preparing to launch a solar-powered robotic spacecraft on the agency’s first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth.

The mission will help scientists investigate how planets formed and how life began, as well as improve understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth. It will also help establish the possible existence of alien life forms in outer space.

The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will travel to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu and bring a sample back to Earth for intensive study.

Launch is scheduled for 7:05 pm EDT Thursday, September 8 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Continue reading Nasa to send solar-powered robotic spacecraft on mission to look for alien life on asteroid

NanoRacks to deploy QB50 Satellites from International Space Station

nanoracks

NanoRacks has been selected as a launch integration and deployment partner for the QB50 CubeSat Constellation Mission. The QB50 Mission is a European Union project, supported and funded by the European Commission, to demonstrate the research benefits of deploying a low-cost constellation of small satellites.

The QB50 Mission consists of dozens of universities located around the world, from Europe to Asia, from North America to Africa. Coordinated by the von Karmen Institute, QB50 is the second-ever cubesat constellation. The CubeSats will orbit in the lower thermosphere (200-380 kilometers) collecting scientific data, in what is considered by experts a relatively unexplored part of Earth’s atmosphere.

NanoRacks will be deploying a majority of the QB50 satellites from the International Space Station (ISS) utilizing the Company’s NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer. The selection of the ISS as the deployment platform for this program leverages the unique capabilities of the ISS to serve as a test-bed for numerous in-space technologies and research development. Continue reading NanoRacks to deploy QB50 Satellites from International Space Station

ESA and Russians send robots to sniff out alien methane on Mars

 

Launch of seven-month mission to Mars
Launch of multi-year mission to find methane-releasing aliens on Mars

Two robotic spacecraft have blasted off from the spaceport in Kazakhstan on their seven-month journey to Mars.

A scientist close to the project says one of the craft will be “like a big nose in space”, looking to sniff out the locations of aliens by detecting methane, according to a report on IOL.

The joint-mission is the result of collaboration between the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russia’s Roscosmos.

This is the first of two joint ESA-Roscosmos missions. Another similar mission to the “Red Planet” is planned for 2018.  Continue reading ESA and Russians send robots to sniff out alien methane on Mars

SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for NASA Mars 2020 Project

ssl mars-surface

Space Systems Loral (SSL) says it will design and build a robotic Sample Handling Assembly (SHA) for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) through MDA US Systems, a division of MDA, managed by SSL.

The arm will be used on a rover vehicle exploring Mars to process and store samples acquired from the planet’s surface.

“Our space-proven technology positions SSL well to help support JPL’s robotic space exploration activities,” said Nick Zello, director, emerging markets operations.

“As an industry partner we bring cost-effective solutions and a highly responsive and flexible environment to assist NASA in its mission to bring the world new insights and discoveries.” Continue reading SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for NASA Mars 2020 Project

Asteroids hurtling towards Earth. Nasa readies SSL robots

nasa robot asteroids
This concept images shows ARM robotic capture Option B, in which the robotic vehicle ascends from the surface of a large asteroid, on its way to a lunar distant retrograde orbit with a smaller asteroid mass in its clutches.

Earth is under constant attack from alien rocks, apparently. Now, NASA has decided to do something about it 

Space Systems Loral (SSL), a provider of commercial satellites, has received a contract from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to conduct first phase design studies for a spacecraft that can travel to an asteroid, remove a boulder, and redirect it into a lunar orbit to prepare it for a visit by astronauts in the 2020’s.

In keeping with NASA’s strategy to leverage commercially available capabilities, SSL’s spacecraft design for the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM) will be based on its popular commercial geostationary (GEO) satellite, which combines power, propulsion and value. There are currently 80 SSL GEO spacecraft in orbit.

“SSL is pleased to have this opportunity to work with JPL on the Asteroid Redirect Mission,” said John Celli, president of SSL. “We look forward to applying our proven technologies, including our very successful experience delivering high power satellites with electric propulsion systems for our commercial GEO customers, to help JPL reduce risks and meet the cost target for this exciting mission.” Continue reading Asteroids hurtling towards Earth. Nasa readies SSL robots