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NASA Licenses Three Satellite Servicing Technologies to Northrop

On-orbit servicing

NASA Licenses Three Satellite Servicing Technologies to Northrop

NASA announced that it has licensed three of its satellite servicing technologies to Northrop Grumman. Two of the technologies were developed for the On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing 1 mission.

OSAM-1 is a robotic spacecraft designed to extend the lifespans of satellites, including ones that were not designed to be serviced on-orbit, according to NASA’s website.

The spacecraft is now planned to be used to grapple the government-owned Landsat 7 satellite, which was not originally designed to be refueled, repaired or modified, NASA said Wednesday.

Jill McGuire, director of NASA’s Exploration & In-space Services, said that OSAM-1 will help drive sustainability in future spaceflights. NEXIS is the NASA division mainly in charge of developing OSAM-1.

One of the two OSAM-1 technologies licensed by Northrop is a gripper tool used to handle satellites. NASA developed the gripper to grapple the component that originally attached Landsat’s satellite to its launch rocket.

The grappler was designed to function autonomously due to the speeds that Landsat 7 travels at as well as the communication delay between space and Earth systems.

Northrop also licensed the client berthing system that NASA built to hold Landsat 7 in position for refueling. 

NASA also entered into a licensing agreement for its cooperative servicing technology called the Fluid Transfer Coupler. The FTC is a tool designed to make the replenishment of fluids easier in space.

The tool was originally intended to be used for Gateway, an outpost that NASA plans to deploy on the orbit of the moon as part of the Artemis program.

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Category: Space

Tags: Artemis Fluid Transfer Coupler Jill McGuire Landsat 7 license NASA NEXIS Northrop Grumman OSAM-1 space