Tokyo area startup Gitai Japan successfully carried out a expertise demonstration of its autonomous robotic arm inside the International Space Station final week, a key milestone as the firm prepares to offer robotics as a service in area.
The S1 robotic arm carried out two duties: working cables and switches, and assembling constructions and panels. These duties – frequent crew actions – can be utilized in a general-purpose means for a variety of in-space actions. The profitable demo raised what NASA calls the “technology readiness level” of the Gitai robot to TRL 7. There are 9 TRLs in complete, and hitting all of them will probably be important for Gitai commercializing its robots.
The demonstration was carried out inside area firm Nanoracks’ Bishop Airlock, the world’s first (and solely) business airlock to be hooked up to the exterior of the station. Nanoracks – which announced plans last week to launch a fully private commercial space station with Voyage Space and Lockheed Martin – additionally furnished on-orbit operations, knowledge downlink and the launch alternative.
Gitai’s robotic arm was despatched to orbit aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule, a part of the launch firm’s 23rd Commercial Resupply Services Mission at the finish of August. The Japanese startup is growing robots for a variety of common functions in area, together with on-orbit servicing of spacecraft, building, or manufacturing duties. The subsequent step for the firm is to check the Gitai robot outdoors the ISS.
“The success of this investigation proves that the GITAI robot can be a solution for space agencies and commercial space companies looking for versatile, dexterous, relatively safe (less exposure to life threatening risks for humans), and inexpensive labor force,” NASA mentioned in a tech demo replace. “Providing this option furthers the goals of commercialization of space.”
Gitai doesn’t wish to simply construct robotic arms, nonetheless. The firm’s long-term imaginative and prescient sees robots as key instruments for constructing area colonies, on the floor of the moon and even Mars. This robotic workforce may very well be the reply to accelerating human presence in off-world environments. Earlier this 12 months, the startup closed a $17.1 million Series B funding spherical, to rent and speed up the growth of a separate satellite tv for pc servicing tech demo set to happen in 2023.