Even spacecraft designed to refuel other spacecraft need their own fuel tank. This crucial piece of hardware was installed last week on the On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing (OSAM-1) spacecraft, formerly called Restore-L, that Maxar is building for NASA.
OSAM-1 will – for the first time in history – refuel a satellite in low Earth orbit (LEO) not designed to be serviced. In doing so, the program will validate many of the essential tools, techniques and technologies to enable future science and space exploration missions, bolster national security and spur the development of innovative commercial platforms and businesses.
OSAM-1’s design is based on Maxar’s decades-proven 1300-class spacecraft platform, which offers a powerful mix of reliability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness for the mission. Maxar is also leveraging the 1300-class spacecraft platform for the Power and Propulsion Element of NASA’s Artemis program, and the Psyche metallic asteroid exploration mission. NASA’s TEMPO science payload is also being flown as a hosted payload on a 1300-based GEO mission. As the world’s most popular commercial spacecraft platform, there are more than 92 1300-class spacecraft on orbit today.
Maxar is also building three robotic arms for the OSAM-1 mission, two of which will be used for the refueling mission. The other robotic arm, part of the SPIDER demonstration, will be used to demonstrate groundbreaking and fundamental technologies for sustainable space exploration, including the in-space assembly of large-scale segmented antenna reflectors and manufacturing of a composite beam while on-orbit. Maxar has teamed with the West Virginia Robotic Technology Center to provide independent verification of SPIDER’s capabilities through multiple performance studies.
Now that OSAM-1’s fuel tank has been integrated, Maxar’s team in Palo Alto will move on to completing the propulsion module and continuing the bus integration and test with an anticipated delivery to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, next year. For more information on OSAM-1, visit explorespace.maxar.com/moon/restore-l/.