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SpaceDev: Successful Orbital Express Servicing Demonstration

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Sat Apr 28, 2007 11:45 pm
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SpaceDev, Inc. (OTCBB: SPDV) as a member of Boeing’s Orbital Express team, would like to join Boeing’s announcement that the two satellites on DARPA’s Orbital Express Mission successfully separated and the first in a series of capture tests was successfully completed. SpaceDev’s Starsys division designed and fabricated the low shock spacecraft-to-spacecraft separation system used to release the two spacecraft, Astro and NextSat, as well as providing the Orbital Express Capture System (OECS) used to perform direct capture and docking of the satellites. The OECS provides the structural, electrical and power connections between the spacecraft as well as the platform for fluid transfer coupling. The demonstration was the first of more than 75 captures planned throughout the one year mission to validate various docking scenarios. The goal of the Orbital Express program is to validate the feasibility of robotic, autonomous on-orbit refueling and reconfiguration of satellites.

”We would like to thank DARPA, Boeing and the rest of the Orbital Express team for entrusting us with this critical subsystem. We are proud to be a part of this important program,” said Mark Sirangelo, CEO and Chairman of SpaceDev. “This technology has the potential to transform how spacecraft missions are accomplished and could well become a key element in extending the capability and life of the next generation of satellites. We look forward to working with the Orbital Express team throughout the balance of the mission and into the future.”

Orbital Express is being developed by DARPA and was launched in March 2007. The successful Orbital Express demonstration will provide the foundation for developing an operational system that can provide routine on-orbit servicing of future space assets.

Additional partners on this team include NASA, Ball Aerospace, Northrop Grumman Space Technology, MDA and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc.

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