Tokyo area startup Gitai Japan efficiently performed a know-how demonstration of its autonomous robotic arm contained in the Worldwide House Station final week, a key milestone as the corporate prepares to offer robotics as a service in area.
The S1 robotic arm carried out two duties: working cables and switches, and assembling buildings and panels. These duties — widespread crew actions — can be utilized in a general-purpose approach for a spread of in-space actions. The profitable demo raised what NASA calls the “know-how readiness stage” of the Gitai robotic to TRL 7. There are 9 TRLs in whole and hitting all of them shall be vital for Gitai commercializing its robots.
The demonstration was carried out inside area firm Nanoracks’ Bishop Airlock, the world’s first (and solely) industrial airlock to be hooked up to the outside of the station. Nanoracks — which introduced plans final week to launch a completely non-public industrial area station with Voyage House 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 twenty third Business Resupply Providers Mission on the finish of August. The Japanese startup is growing robots for a spread of normal functions in area, together with on-orbit servicing of spacecraft, development or manufacturing duties. The subsequent step for the corporate is to check the Gitai robotic outdoors the ISS.
“The success of this investigation proves that the GITAI robotic is usually a answer for area businesses and industrial area firms on the lookout for versatile, dexterous, comparatively secure (much less publicity to life threatening dangers for people) and cheap labor power,” NASA stated in a tech demo replace. “Offering this feature furthers the targets of commercialization of area.”
Gitai doesn’t need to simply construct robotic arms, nevertheless. The corporate’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 Collection B funding spherical, to rent and speed up the event of a separate satellite tv for pc servicing tech demo set to happen in 2023.
Watch footage from final week’s demonstration right here: