Orbital ATK announces public-private partnership with NASA's STMD
Orbital ATK announced that it has begun a public-private partnership with NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate to establish a Commercial Infrastructure for Robotic Assembly and Services in space. The CIRAS program will advance key technologies for in-orbit manufacturing and assembly of large space structures that will help the agency meet its goals for robotic and human exploration of the solar system. Orbital ATK will serve as prime contractor of CIRAS, with support provided from its wholly owned subsidiary, Space Logistics, LLC, along with NASA's Langley Research Center, NASA's Glenn Research Center and the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Phase one of CIRAS began in September 2016 and will last a total of two years. During this period, Orbital ATK will lead the team in maturing technologies necessary for robotic assembly of large space structures, such as next-generation telescopes or solar-powered structures for transport or communications. These capabilities include methods to connect or disconnect joints on a structure and address precision measuring and alignment through a 15-meter robotic arm and a precision robot. The team will also develop the technology needed to conduct in-orbit modular assembly of structures, allowing parts to be brought to space as needed via multiple launches, which simplifies the design of spacecraft and reduces cost.