Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Specialist robotic spacecraft developer will maintain its course through the galaxy, say new owners

Honeybee Robotics has been acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries, a 181-year-old privately held corporation with headquarters in Simsbury, Connecticut. 

Honeybee builds robotic spacecraft for Nasa and has delivered systems for the past three Mars landers, and is developing a mining robot which could extract precious resources from asteroids.

Following the acquisition, Honeybee Robotics will be a stand-alone, wholly-owned subsidiary of EBI and will complement EBI’s current aerospace and defense subsidiary, Eba-d.

Honeybee will continue to operate from its current facilities in Brooklyn, New York, Longmont, Colorado, and Pasadena, California.  Continue reading Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Chinese robotic spacecraft completes second refuelling test, as Russia launches robotic cargo ship to International Space Station

Progress_M-52
The Progress spacecraft

China and Russia have both launched robotic spacecraft on cargo missions recently, according to reports in the media. 

Chinese state news agency Xinhua says the Tiangong-2 space lab and Tianzhou-1 completed a second refuelling test which “cemented technical results from the first refuelling”.

According to Space.com, the refuelling procedure requires 29 steps to complete and lasts for several days.  Continue reading Chinese robotic spacecraft completes second refuelling test, as Russia launches robotic cargo ship to International Space Station

Honeybee Robotics wins Nasa funding for six spacecraft projects

nasa honeybee robotics US-COMP_base
Picture by Nasa via ParabolicArc.com

Honeybee Robotics has received four Nasa Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I awards and two Nasa Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I award to develop new spacecraft systems and enabling technologies.

The awards will allow Honeybee to analyze concepts for advanced future planetary exploration, sampling, in-situ resource utilization, and on-orbit operations.  Continue reading Honeybee Robotics wins Nasa funding for six spacecraft projects

SSL selected to partner with Darpa to develop satellite servicing business

ssl darpa_rsgs_lrg

Space Systems Loral, a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, today announced it has been selected by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop the capability to service and maintain spacecraft and other infrastructure in the geostationary arc.

Darpa’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program is expected to be the foundation of a new business for SSL that will serve both commercial and government operators with repair, upgrade, relocation, and refueling of on-orbit assets.

Howard Lance, chief executive officer, SSL MDA Holdings, says: “This will be SSL’s first spacecraft contract with the Department of Defense in recent years and it is the third time that we have been selected by the US government for a major program in just two months, following our recent selections for Nasa’s Restore-L and Psyche missions.

“It clearly demonstrates the success of our strategy to bring the benefits of our commercial business to a broader audience and to grow our business with US government work.”  Continue reading SSL selected to partner with Darpa to develop satellite servicing business

From virtual space to outer space: Siemens shows off its PLM client list

Land Rover BAR america's cup yacht
Land Rover BAR design team uses NX, Teamcenter, Femap, Fiberism and Star-CCM+ to develop this innovative racing catamaran to bring the America’s Cup back to Britain.

Siemens has been showcasing some of the prestigious projects the company’s product lifecycle management software is being used for – and they include space and maritime projects

Whether it’s space taxis or passenger cars, America’s Cup yachts or Formula 1 race cars, products are more complex, smarter and more connected than ever before. Product Lifecycle Management software helps manufacturers transform their operations into digital enterprises and lead the way – with smarter products and smarter machines making them.

The world’s fastest Space Utility Vehicle will have to be able to withstand a lot.

When plying its standard route between the Earth and the International Space Station, which circles the Earth at an altitude of about 250 miles, transporting cargo there and back, it will do more than merely travel at over 17,000 mph (Mach 25).  Continue reading From virtual space to outer space: Siemens shows off its PLM client list

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

Fugitive robot found holed up on comet. Scientists demand the truth

philae esa

An escaped space robot has been found holed up inside a cave on a comet after going on the run for more than a year. 

Philae, a tiny robotic spacecraft, was sent by the European Space Agency as part of the Rosetta mission.

Philae was designed to autonomously explore and send back data to the main Rosetta spacecraft, but it apparently ran off and scientists have not been able to find it until now.

Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist, is quoted by CNN as saying: “This wonderful news means that we now have the missing ‘ground-truth’ information needed to put Philae’s three days of science into proper context, now that we know where that ground actually is.”

Full story on CNN

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

SSL to provide robotic arms to Darpa for satellite servicing

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SSL artist rendering robotic arms. Source: Darpa (PRNewsFoto/SSL)

Space Systems Loral (SSL), a provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, has received $20.7 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) to design and build robotic arm flight hardware for the first phase of the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program.

SSL is receiving the funds through MDA US Systems, a division of MDA managed by SSL, and is working with the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), which is the prime contractor managing the program.

The contract is for two complete robotic arm systems, which would be able to carefully capture and berth with satellites that were not previously designed for docking.  Continue reading SSL to provide robotic arms to Darpa for satellite servicing

Honeybee Robotics to build starship to help Nasa find flatulent aliens on Mars

The crew hatch of the Nasa Orion spacecraft
The crew hatch of the Nasa Orion spacecraft

Honeybee to build complicated component for spacecraft 

Nasa has contracted Honeybee Robotics to help build a starship that will explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no human has gone before.

Specifically, Honeybee Robotics has begun development of the Side Hatch Gearbox Assembly for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Spacecraft Crew Module.  Continue reading Honeybee Robotics to build starship to help Nasa find flatulent aliens on Mars

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

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