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Strut Attachment System for In-Space Robotic Assembly, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The size of space systems is currently limited to payload envelopes of existing launch vehicles. Due to this and the customized nature of satellites, existing space systems are very costly to stand up. Nor are they designed for repair, upgrade, or reuse to amortize the cost over multiple missions. As missions get further from low-earth orbit (LEO), the dangers of human extra-vehicular activity (EVA) for manual on-orbit assembly or repair increases making robotic assembly of large structures very desirable. Honeybee Robotics (Honeybee) proposes to develop a Strut Attachment System (SAS) that provides a common electromechanical connection architecture for robotic on-orbit structures assembly. The SAS will enable the creation of networked space frame structures with a strut/node architecture; enable payload docking to those structures for power and data transfer; and enable the creation of reusable, serviceable, and upgradable vehicle systems in support of lower cost space exploration. The SAS will leverage technology that Honeybee developed for robotic satellite servicing (DARPA Satlet Grasper Tool | TRL-5). The proposed Phase 1 technical approach is to modify the Satlet Grasper Tool and receptacle designs to increase the connection's strength, rigidity, and power/data transmission capability. The SAS will consist of the Strut Attachment Mechanism, Strut Receptacle, and Node. The Phase 1 project will result in a Strut Attachment Mechanism and Strut Receptacle at TRL of 4 at the end of Phase 1 and TRL 5-6 at the end of Phase 2. More »

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