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Satnews Daily
January 4th, 2011

Lockheed Martin... Divining Dextre Development (Robot)

[SatNews] Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company (LMSSC) of Greenbelt, Maryland, won a sole source contract from NASA for Systems Engineering for In-Space Servicing (SEISS).

This cost-plus-fixed-fee, 18-month contract has a value of $31.2 million. LMSSC will provide systems and discipline engineering support to develop and execute two demonstrations to test and verify new robotic servicing capabilities using the Dextre robot aboard the International Space Station. The Canadian Space Agency's Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, is a two-armed robotic system designed to perform intricate maintenance and servicing tasks, which previously would have required spacewalks.

The first demonstration will use a customized payload task box, Dextre, and specialized tools to robotically demonstrate refueling and repair tasks in orbit. Tasks will include: locating, accessing, and uncapping valves and transferring simulated liquid fuel. During the second demonstration, Dextre will test and evaluate a variety of tools, sensors, and instruments to support autonomous rendezvous and capture capabilities for orbiting spacecraft systems. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is developing both demonstration payloads. These demonstrations are intended to increase NASA's technical capability to conduct robotic in-space servicing. The contract encompasses requirements definition and verification, hardware design, support of flight and ground hardware/software development, and mission planning support.