Science & Technology

Tethers Unlimited’s Firmamentum strikes deal to demonstrate orbital manufacturing

A division of Tethers Unlimited Inc., an area know-how firm primarily based in Bothell, Wash., says it has signed a contract with a big-name spacecraft supplier to demonstrate how future satellites may construct their very own frameworks in area.

The deal requires Tethers Unlimited’s enterprise division, generally known as Firmamentum, to fly its manufacturing {hardware} on a telecommunications satellite tv for pc as a part of Area Programs Loral’s Dragonfly program. Area Programs Loral is likely one of the world’s main builders of satellites and spacecraft methods.

Firmamentum is engaged on a know-how generally known as the “Trusselator,” which is designed to fabricate massive, light-weight truss constructions out of carbon-fiber composites. Such constructions may assist help antennas, sensors, photo voltaic arrays and different parts.

 

The profit is that the constructions may very well be constructed to the required specs in area, fairly than having to be launched as payload of their completed form.

Dragonfly is being funded by NASA’s Area Know-how Mission Directorate as a part of the area company’s Tipping Point initiative.

“The Dragonfly program is an amazing alternative for us to demonstrate the readiness of in-space manufacturing applied sciences to allow transformative enhancements within the efficiency of communications satellites, and we’re very grateful that SSL has chosen us to staff with on this endeavor,” Rob Hoyt, Firmamentum’s CEO, mentioned in a news release.

Firmamentum didn’t present specifics in regards to the worth of the contract or the timeframe for the in-space demonstration. Nevertheless, Area Programs Loral’s govt vice chairman of engineering and operations, Paul Estey, told Satellite Today in July that the venture was a part of the corporate’s long-term imaginative and prescient for satellite tv for pc platforms.

 

“That is within the early phases — not one thing that may occur within the subsequent 5 years, possible, however it’s a very thrilling space of engineering endeavor for us,” Estey mentioned.

Firmamentum can also be working with Area Programs Loral in addition to NanoRacks and Vulcan Aerospace on an on-orbit construction project for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a.ok.a. DARPA.

Tethers Limitless and its Firmamentum division are growing a long list of technologies for NASA and different authorities entities, starting from small-scale, high-bandwidth communication antennas to 3-D printer/recyclers and water-fueled mini-thrusters.

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