Eight Companies Join Catalyst Accelerator’s On-orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing Cohort

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 19, 2021 (Catalyst Accelerator PR) — Eight small businesses will come together virtually from across the country for the Catalyst Accelerator’s cohort focused on On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing.

The Catalyst Accelerator, powered by the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), was developed to promote technology advancement for the warfighter and guide technology transfer for the government to industry and vice versa. The implications for in-space manufacturing are seemingly limitless. Therefore, the US Space Force, in conjunction with AFRL/RV, is seeking bold and disruptive technologies enabling on-orbit servicing and manufacturing.

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NASA to Fund Made in Space Project to Develop In-space Laser Welding System

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected Made in Space for a small business award to develop a system capable of autonomously welding structures in space.

The Mobile End-Effector Laser Device (MELD) would be capable of welding “aerospace-grade metals to assemble large, stable structures on-orbit or on the lunar or Martian surface. These include trusses, arrays, habitats, and pressure vessels,” according to the proposal summary.

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NIAC Award: Flat Fabrication of Progressively Self-Assembling Space Systems

Illustration of the Flat Fabrication of Progressively Self-Assembling Space Systems concept. (Credits: Davide Guzzetti)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC)
Phase I Award
Amount: $125,000

Flat Fabrication of Progressively Self-Assembling Space Systems

Davide Guzzetti
Auburn University

This project aims to study the feasibility of integrating an array of microchips with space satellite functions, or ChipSats, on a multifunctional shape memory polymer (SMP) bus that is capable of self-folding when exposed to solar radiation.

This technology may enable the flat fabrication of kilometer-sized antenna arrays for radio astronomy that self-transform into the operative configuration once in orbit.