News Sci/Tech Gitai's Autonomous Robot Demonstrates Orbital Repairs Outside the ISS
Autonomous robot

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Gitai's Autonomous Robot Installs Panel Outside the ISS, Demonstrating Orbital Repairs

By Aria Alamalhodaei

Published on Tue, 19 March 2024, 12:40 pm GMT-4


Los Angeles-based startup Gitai has achieved a significant milestone in space technology. Their autonomous robotic arm, known as S2, successfully completed a tech demonstration outside the International Space Station (ISS). This achievement marks a crucial step toward reducing in-space labor costs and enhancing our ability to build structures for living and working in space.

The Autonomous Robotic Arm

The 1.5-meter-long S2 robotic arm was launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in January. It was mounted externally on Nanoracks' Bishop Airlock, where it performed a series of essential tasks:

  • Installing a task panel
  • Screwing and unscrewing tiny bolts
  • Manipulating flexible materials
  • Attaching and detaching a flexible electric cable to a connector

Cost Reduction and Safety

Gitai aims to revolutionize in-space labor by reducing costs significantly. Just as SpaceX and other providers have dramatically lowered launch costs, Gitai seeks to achieve a similar reduction in labor expenses. Human labor in space is both expensive and risky, making robotic alternatives an attractive solution.

Future Applications

Gitai's long-term goals include on-orbit satellite servicing for spacecraft in low Earth orbit and geostationary orbit. Additionally, the startup is developing robotic satellites capable of performing tasks related to this market, such as rendezvous, docking, inspection, and de-orbiting. By 2026, Gitai plans to offer on-orbit servicing services.

Technology Readiness Level

The S2 robotic arm's technology readiness level (TRL) is now at 7, the highest level according to NASA's standards. Gitai's inchworm-type arm also shares the same TRL 7 status.

Disclaimer: This article is a rephrased version of the original news piece. No sources, writers, or references are included.

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