Oct 28, 2021

Gitai successfully demos autonomous robot inside the International Space Station

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

Tokyo space startup Gitai Japan successfully conducted a technology demonstration of its autonomous robotic arm inside the International Space Station last week, a key milestone as the company prepares to provide robotics as a service in space.

The S1 robotic arm performed two tasks: operating cables and switches, and assembling structures and panels. These tasks — common crew activities — can be used in a general-purpose way for a range of in-space activities. The successful demo raised what NASA calls the “technology readiness level” of the Gitai robot to TRL 7. There are nine TRLs in total and hitting all of them will be critical for Gitai commercializing its robots.

The demonstration was performed inside space company Nanoracks’ Bishop Airlock, the world’s first (and only) commercial airlock to be attached to the exterior of the station. Nanoracks — which announced plans last week to launch a fully private commercial space station with Voyage Space and Lockheed Martin — also furnished on-orbit operations, data downlink and the launch opportunity.

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