Maxar Technologies announced on Tuesday that the company is teaming with the West Virginia Robotic Technology Center (WVRTC) to build and fly “Dragonfly,” a trail-blazing robotic in-space assembly system, and support a wide variety of innovative capabilities contributing to science, exploration and commercial development.
Maxar proposed that the first “Dragonfly” system on NASA’s Restore-L in 2022 to demonstrate technologies for refueling a satellite in low Earth orbit. The company is building the spacecraft bus for Restore-L, which is based on its tried-and-true 1300-class platform, as well as two nimble robotic arms. On Restore-L, Dragonfly would assemble seven individual antenna reflector components into one large antenna reflector – similar to putting together a puzzle.
“We’re grateful for the support of Senators Capito and Manchin, Congressman McKinley, and Administrator Bridenstine for ensuring that America continues to excel in the field of space-based robotics through work conducted here in West Virginia,” said Mike Gold, Maxar’s vice president of Civil Space.
In-space assembly has the potential to revolutionize the way satellites and other space infrastructure are built and launched, while enabling highly dexterous capabilities for future space architectures and exploration missions.
With Dragonfly, large structures such as space-based telescopes, satellites, and spacecraft will no longer be confined by the volume limitations of rocket fairings, and instead could rely entirely on robotics for initial assembly, recurring maintenance, reconfiguration and payload upgrades.
Maxar will also play a key role in the mission to land on the Moon by 2024.
About Maxar Technologies
Maxar Technologies is a trusted partner and innovator in Earth intelligence and space infrastructure that provides cutting-edge solutions that focus on customer needs first, while bending the curve on costs, timeframes and returns.
We are a leading global provider of advanced space-based technology solutions, delivering unmatched integrated capabilities in Earth imagery, geospatial data, analytics & insights, satellites and robotics. The world’s foremost governments and businesses trust us to solve their most mission-critical challenges with confidence.