NASA Robots Compete in DARPA’s Subterranean Challenge Final

Team CoSTAR, led by NASA’s JPL, will use autonomous robots with diverse methods of movement to compete in the complex underground environments of the SubT Challenge Final. One of the robots, NeBula-Spot, walks on four legs to explore hard-to-access locations. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Led by NASA JPL, Team CoSTAR will participate in the SubT final this week to demonstrate multi-robot autonomy in a series of tests in extreme environments.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Eight teams featuring dozens of robots from more than 30 institutions, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, will converge in a former Kentucky limestone mine from Sept. 21 to 24 to participate in a series of complex underground scenarios. The goal: to demonstrate cutting-edge robotic autonomy capabilities and compete for the chance to win $2 million.

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QUT and MDA to Develop Robot for Space Application

BRAMPTON, Ont. (MDA PR) — QUT robotics researchers will join the push to take humanity back to the Moon in designing and demonstrating a logistics robot for space application.

Researchers from QUT’s Centre for Robotics will partner with Canadian-based space technology company MDA and Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth in designing a logistics robot prototype that may be used inside the International Space Station (ISS) or the Lunar Gateway.

The Lunar Gateway, a collaborative project involving NASA, the European Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will serve as a rendezvous point for astronauts on missions to the surface of the Moon and as a springboard for robotic and human expeditions on to Mars.

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NASA Awards PickNik an SBIR Grant for Orbital Robot Autonomy

Credit: PikNik
  • PickNik Robotics is developing an easy-to-use supervised autonomy solution to command remote, complex robots.
  • The commercially available version is called MoveIt Studio, with an initial release slated for Summer 2021.
  • MoveIt Studio expands the problem-solving capabilities of traditional robot teleoperation.

BOULDER, CO, June 8th, 2021 (PickNik Robotics PR) – PickNik Robotics announced on June 8th that it has been awarded a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop its technology for advanced planning capabilities for robots in microgravity environments.

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NASA Partners with Altius, Honeybee & OrbitFab to Test Satellite Fixtures for Robotic Grappling

A robotic servicing arm (left) practices autonomous capture of a satellite mockup (right) in Goddard’s Robotic Operations Center. Because there is no grapple fixture, the arm will use the marman ring, which originally attached the satellite to the rocket that launched it to space. (Credits: NASA/Rebecca Roth)

by Tracy Vogel
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, has chosen three companies to participate in a new partnership to test and evaluate satellite servicing technologies.

Altius Space Machines of Broomfield, Colorado, Honeybee Robotics of Longmont, Colorado, and Orbit Fab of San Francisco will provide cooperative robotic grapple fixtures and data to be studied by NASA’s Exploration and In-Space Services projects division (NExIS, formerly known as the Satellite Servicing Projects Division) engineers. The engineers will utilize robotics facilities at Goddard via Space Act Agreements to collect data on the performance of the companies’ fixtures.

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Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator Announces Class of 2020

LOS ANGELES (Techstars PR) — Today Techstars announce the 10 companies joining the second class of the Techstars Starburst Space Accelerator, typically located in Los Angeles but running virtually this summer due to COVID-19.

Over the next three months these companies will rapidly accelerate their businesses by working closely with Techstars, Starburst, our network of expert mentors, and our formal sponsors from industry and government: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed Martin, Maxar Technologies, SAIC, Israel Aerospace Industries North America, and the U.S. Air Force, with support from The Aerospace Corporation. Our Demo Day is on September 9, 2020.

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Former Astronaut Tim Kopra Joins MDA

Tim Kopra (Credit: NASA)

BRAMPTON, ONT. (MDA PR) — MDA is pleased to announce that retired astronaut Tim Kopra will join its leadership team as Vice President of Robotics and Space Operations, effective immediately. As the leader for this business area, he will be responsible for the work of the robotics and space operations teams at MDA sites in Brampton, Ottawa, Saint-Hubert and Houston.

“We are thrilled to have Tim join our executive leadership team,” said Mike Greenley, Chief Executive Officer of MDA. “As we embark on the next decade of space exploration, with the Artemis lunar program, commercial on-orbit servicing and on-orbit manufacturing, as well increasing activity on Mars, MDA has a large role to play and I believe Tim’s operational experience and leadership skills will be essential to our continued growth and success.”

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Motiv Space Systems Unveils xLink Highly Modular, Cost-Efficient Space-Rated Robotic Arm System

Motiv’s xLink robotic arm is scalable and modular (Credit: Motiv Space Systems)

PASADENA, Calif., May 21, 2020 (Motiv Space Systems PR) — Today, Motiv Space Systems announced the launch of its xLink™ space-rated modular robotic arm system. The xLink™ system is exceptionally adaptable and can accommodate nearly every current and planned application for space-rated robotic manipulation.

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Western Australia Government Invests in Robotics Partnership

  • McGowan Government secures Perth as headquarters for ‘AROSE’, a national consortium to translate locally developed remote and robotic technologies into space exploration
  • PwC estimates that AROSE could inject about $200 million per year into local economy and support 1,500 WA jobs in five years’ time
  • Western Australia to play a leading role in Australia-NASA Moon to Mars partnership 

PERTH (Western Australia Government PR) — The McGowan Government today announced that Perth has secured the headquarters for the national entity AROSE (Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth), which will ensure Western Australia has a leading role in the Australia-NASA Moon to Mars partnership.

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Jumping Space Robot Flies Like Spacecraft

Spacebok jumping in simulated lunar gravity. (Credit; ETH Zurich/ZHAW Zurich)

NOORDWIJK, The Netherlands (ESA ) — Astronauts on the Moon found themselves hopping around, rather than simply walking. Switzerland’s SpaceBok planetary exploration robot has followed their example, launching all four legs off the ground during tests at ESA’s technical heart.

SpaceBok is a quadruped robot designed and built by a Swiss student team from ETH Zurich and ZHAW Zurich. It is currently being tested using robotic facilities at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands.

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Self Driving Rovers Tested in Mars-like Morocco

SherpaTT rover during Morocco field test. (Credit: DFKI GmbH, Florian Cordes)

PARIS (ESA PR) — Robots invaded the Sahara Desert for Europe’s largest rover field test, taking place in a Mars-like part of Morocco. For two weeks three rovers and more than 40 engineers tested automated navigation systems at up to five different sites.

This marked the end of the first phase of the strategic research cluster on space robotics technologies, a scheme funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

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Altius Space Machines DogTags Project Selected for NASA Funding

We’ve all heard of dogtags for dogs and for soldiers. But, for space robots?

That’s what Jonathan Goff’s Altius Space Machines will begin developing with NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I funding. The contract is worth $125,000 over six months.

Altius’s dogtags are lightweight, passive robotic interfaces that could be attached to habitat structures and objects. Examples of structures include human-tended deep space habitats and commercial manufacturing facilities in Easrth orbit that wouldn’t be permanently staffed.

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NASA Selects Honeybee Robotics for Six Small Business Awards

The green oval highlights the plumes Hubble observed on Europa. The area also corresponds to a warm region on Europa’s surface. The map is based on observations by the Galileo spacecraft (Credits: NASA/ESA/STScI/USGS)

Honeybee Robotics will begin developing new technologies that would allow a lander to drill into the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa and collect samples for analysis with the help of a pair of NASA small business awards.

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ESA Astronaut Controls Ground Robot From ISS

ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen controls the Interact Rover at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre from the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)
ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen controls the Interact Rover at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre from the International Space Station. (Credit: ESA)

NOORDWIJK, the Netherlands — Putting a round peg in a round hole is not hard for someone standing next to it. But yesterday ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen did this while orbiting 400 km up aboard the International Space Station, remotely operating a rover and its robotic arm on the ground.

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CSA Partners With SickKids Centre to Develop KidsArm

LONGUEIL, Quebec (CSA PR) — Not much rivals the dexterity of a good surgeon’s hands. But humans being humans, fatigue or even tremors after a long day at the hospital can make things challenging, especially when operating on small children.

That is why Toronto’s SickKids Centre for Image-Guided Innovation & Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI) turned to the Canadian space technology behind Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre and partnered with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) to develop KidsArm.

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NASA KSC Seeks Partners for Technology Development Projects

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center
Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is seeking proposals to participate in the technology advancing partnerships challenge, a new initiative managed by Kennedy’s chief technologist to enhance the development of new technologies to meet specific agency mission objectives.

Technological areas of emphasis for the challenge include: robotics, telerobotics and autonomous systems; human health, life support and habitation systems; human exploration destination systems; ground and launch systems processing; modeling, simulation, information technology and processing; thermal management systems; and communication and navigation.

Proposals will be accepted from U.S. educational institutions, private industry and non-profit organizations through May 9, 2014.

For more information on how to submit a proposal and to view the Cooperative Agreement Notice, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/1rrFXpa

For more information on NASA’s research and technology programs, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/oct/

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