Archinaut

Technology Overview

For Space, In Space

Archinaut is a Made In Space (MIS) enterprise solution for in-space manufacturing needs, enabling the next generation of large-scale, off-world manufacturing. It is a technology suite that combines additive manufacturing with robotic assembly for remote in-space construction of large complex structures. Implementing these on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM) capabilities also enables the repair or reconstitution of existing satellite assets.

NASA’s exploration roadmap for Moon to Mars will employ new platforms like Gateway & Artemis that will benefit from in-space manufacturing capabilities. Building infrastructure off the planet without having to launch critical components is crucial when looking at these exploration goals. MIS is pioneering new capabilities in space that will reshape the design landscape for space missions. Combining additive manufacturing and robotic assembly to create space-optimized assets alters the future of mission architecture and satellite design.

Applications

Archinaut is a customizable suite of manufacturing and assembly technology that can be integrated into free-flying satellites. Archinaut utilizes customizable extended structure 3D printing technologies paired with precise, autonomous robotic systems, to fabricate complex space-optimized structures of indefinite lengths using space-rated thermoplastics. This enabling technology is customizable and upgradable to serve the needs of the customer. Archinaut can be applied in numerous configurations, providing numerous capabilities: 

  • Expansive solar array systems for significant power improvements providing nearly 5x the power of the state-of-the-art
  • Implementation of key technologies for on-orbit refueling or resupply missions
  • Reconfiguration of launch infrastructure that would otherwise be constituted as space debris into valuable assets
  • Extended antenna for remote sensing, telecommunications, or scientific exploration
  • Reconfigurable persistent platform structures 
  • Large-scale baseline interferometry exploring multiple investigative applications 
  • Large apertures for parabolic reflectors and array backplanes typically reserved for larger satellites

The benefits of Archinaut extend well beyond its manufacturing capabilities. Traditionally, satellite and infrastructure designs have been constrained by launch-shroud-size and environment survivability requirements. Archinaut technology helps to circumvent these restraints imposed by launch by constructing the assets in space. By eliminating spacecraft volume limits imposed by rockets, manufacturing in space can also help to dramatically reduce costs of launch. The cost of launching the spacecraft decreases from the ability to downsize the class of the satellite bus. Being able to launch on a smaller rocket ultimately drives down launch costs. 

Key Features

archinaut solar structure infographic

Related Resources

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