NASA‘s Space Technology Mission Directorate has forged a public-private partnership with Orbital ATK to address the agency’s robotic and human exploration goals through the establishment of a commercial space infrastructure.
Orbital ATK said Tuesday the Commercial Infrastructure for Robotic Assembly and Services project aims to update technologies for in-orbit manufacturing and assembly of space platforms.
The company will act as the prime contractor of the CIRAS program and began work on the development of technologies for the robotic assembly of space-based systems such as telescopes and solar-powered structures in September.
NASA solicited proposals in August for public-private partnerships to build and commercialize space platforms for human and scientific exploration missions.
Space Logistics, an Orbital ATK subsidiary, will support work on CIRAS alongside the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory as well as the space agency’s Langley Research Center and Glenn Research Center.
“During CIRAS, we will build upon the [Mission Extension Vehicle’s] existing capabilities, such as rendezvous and docking,” Space Logistics President Tom Wilson said.
Orbital ATK President Frank Culbertson said the CIRAS team aims to produce technologies that will bolster the nation’s capacity to establish a framework for NASA’s journey to Mars.