Kayhan, Astroscale, UT Austin win Space Force study contract for in-orbit servicing technology

The staff will develop software program to allow spacecraft to conduct proximity maneuvers autonomously

WASHINGTON — Kayhan Area, and companions Astroscale US and the College of Texas at Austin, gained a U.S. Area Pressure contract to develop software program for in-orbit servicing autos, the businesses introduced Sept. 28.

The staff gained a Small Enterprise Know-how Switch (STTR) Section 1 award value $250,000 underneath the Area Pressure’s Orbital Prime program. Underneath the contract, they’ll develop software program to allow spacecraft to conduct proximity maneuvers autonomously.

Orbital Prime is run by SpaceWERX, the expertise arm of the U.S. Space Force. In Might it chosen 125 industry teams for the preliminary part of this system, supposed to advertise industrial growth of applied sciences for orbital particles cleanup and different area providers.

Orbital Prime STTR contracts require small companies to staff with educational or nonprofit establishments. Winners of Section 1 contracts in 2023 can have a chance to compete for second-phase awards of as much as $1.5 million to proceed growth and prototyping.

Kayhan Proxima, a software program software designed for autonomous rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO), might be deployed as an enhancement to Astroscale’s present flight software program utilized in servicing autos. “This enhances and enhances our RPO resolution to work extra autonomously by leveraging Kayhan’s collision avoidance experience,” mentioned Astroscale.

The expertise might be provided to the Area Pressure for doable use in an illustration deliberate for 2024. Potential purposes for autonomous RPO embody in-space meeting and manufacturing, refueling, upkeep, particles elimination and different actions.

Kayhan Space, a startup based mostly in Boulder, Colorado, has gained Small Enterprise Innovation Analysis contracts for its area situational consciousness and collision avoidance expertise. 

Astroscale offers on-orbit logistics and particles elimination providers to governments and industrial satellite tv for pc operators. Denver, Colorado-based Astroscale US is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astroscale Holdings.

The Kayhan Proxima enhancement will permit “shut proximity amongst spacecraft in extraordinarily in style and busy orbits by enabling repeatable, secure and autonomous RPO missions and maneuvers with minimal handbook assist,” mentioned the corporate’s co-founder and CEO Siamak Hesar.

“The aim is to make RPO missions autonomous, which is critical for the rising new area financial system. We wish to decrease the necessity to have floor crews supporting each RPO course of,” he mentioned.

Ron Lopez, president and managing director of Astroscale U.S., mentioned the staff will search to “present the Area Pressure and SpaceWERX an answer that achieves their imaginative and prescient to allow sustainable area operations.”

Renato Zanetti, assistant aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics professor at UT Austin, mentioned the STTR contract is a chance for the college to assist Area Pressure objectives to conduct “environment friendly and secure RPO operations in area.”


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