Space related products that provide services in applications ranging from telecommunications, Earth observation, monitoring and navigation are a fundamental element to our modern way of life. The space industry is confronted with the challenge of sustaining space flight both from an economical prospective, and from environmental hazards created as a result of increased junk in space. This junk has been created by human space endeavours and consists of rocket jettisons, de-functional satellites and small debris emerging from collisions between other satellites and human made space objects. The environmental issue is creating an unsafe condition for space flight, where the risk of collision is increasing; making mission failures more likely. Also with current orbital slots taken up by existing systems and new emerging systems, sustaining space missions becomes a challenge as orbital slots become unavailable for future missions.
Space flight is also very expensive that usually involves large upfront costs and government subsidies. This becomes even more complicated because the risk is very high, as currently satellites cannot be recovered or repaired if failure occurs. Failure of a space mission leads to an increase in uncontrolled junk and further costs of developing a new satellite to complete the mission objective. Also when a satellite has completed its mission lifespan, there is no way to salvage or upgrade the existing system. Instead satellite operators find themselves decommissioning existing satellites and developing new ones to provide further services to their customers, which again leads to further costs.
To sustain space flight and make it more safe, on-orbit services are being recommended and developed to remove debris, de-orbit existing satellites and extend the life of existing systems through repair and maintenance. When repairing satellites, especially the internal systems such as on board computers, communication payloads, tanks and valves, harness and other internal subsystem components becomes a real challenge. This is because the internal components are shielded from the harsh environment of space through the external structure. Moreover removing panels and holding them in place whilst removing other subsystems to get to the target subsystem, makes the task far more complex. Therefore we propose the use of minimally invasive robotic payloads that utilise miniaturised flexible actuators, which are inserted into the target satellite through a small incision.
I'm currently working on a white paper that will address technology requirments and potentail robotic payloads to be integrated to space bus manufacturers and on-orbit service companies such as Astroascale or SLL. The concept of operation aims to utilisie the ISS and work with Made in Space for on-orbit construction of compnents such as sensors, computers and other systems. We will work in collaboration with satelittle manufactruers and aim to spin in flexible robotics technology utilised for laproscopic surgery. This will ensure rapid time to delivery.
I'm looking for collaboration and like minded people to work with me on this porject. I'm currently doing all systems engineering work, which involves determing mision concept, objectives, requirments and configuration concept. I look forward to hearing back from like minded people to join me on this exciting journey.