A critical design review milestone has has been completed by Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) for its MakerSat payload that is part of NASA’s On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 (OSAM-1) mission. The mission is being executed in collaboration with Maxar Technologies and is targeted for launch in the mid-2020s.
MakerSat is incorporated as part of Maxar’s Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot (SPIDER) payload attached to the OSAM-1 spacecraft bus. SPIDER will robotically assemble a communications antenna in orbit, while the MakerSat portion will manufacture a carbon fiber composite beam. In-space manufacturing will play a key role in enabling future scientific and commercial activities in space. The successful milestone completion serves as a go ahead for the fabrication of the qualification model.
“MakerSat will demonstrate the manufacturing of the 2-by-4’s that can be used to construct large telescopes for studying exoplanets and to assemble future space stations,” said TUI’s Founder and President, Dr. Rob Hoyt.
TUI’s Makersat will demonstrate in-space manufacturing of a 10-meter (32 foot) length (minimum) lightweight composite beam, verifying its capability to form large, thermally-stable composite spacecraft truss structures for future missions. As it manufactures the beam, MakerSat will characterize the beam’s shape and structural performance to determine if a structure built in space performs differently than one made on Earth.