PickNik . botsSpaceWERX, a company that provides robotics software and engineering services, has won the SpaceWERX contract to work on robotics for the US Space Force.
In addition, the company recently won a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from NASA for continued work on supervised autonomy for space robots, as well as a Colorado Accelerator for Advanced Industries (AIA) grant for space robotics.
Dave Coleman, CEO of PickNik Robotics, says: “These three wins provide further proof of our work in space robotics, a key focus area for our company.
“We look forward to working with Space Force, NASA and other organizations in the space economy to help them move beyond the complexities and capabilities of robotics, especially robotic arms, in the field.”
The SpaceWERX contract is for PickNik Robotics to help develop improved control for capturing space assets in orbit and increasing the overall efficiency and safety of US Space Force operations.
The work will focus on capturing and manipulating objects in orbit using in-space service, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM) robotic arms. The Nuclear and Applied Robotics Group at the University of Texas, Austin, is collaborating with PickNik on the project.
PickNik Robotics will use its MoveIt Space software, making it easier for operators working on the ground to coordinate autonomous robots in IVA (intra-articular activity) and EVA (extra-vehicular activity) applications.
Developed by PickNik working in conjunction with the NASA Robonaut team, the software combines best-in-class motion planning and control software with an intuitive user interface.
SpaceWERX is the innovation arm of the US Space Force and part of AFWERX, the Air Force Research Laboratory. Headquartered at the Los Angeles AFWERX Center, SpaceWERX collaborates with innovators to accelerate capabilities and shape the future in space.
NASA’s SBIR Phase 1 contract is for PickNik Robotics to advance its work with NASA on supervised independence.
PickNik will develop machine learning models that will enable operators to use high-level instructions to direct the robot to perform a variety of tasks including opening station unit doors, cabinets, and drawers, as well as interacting with other things like valves, buttons, and switches.
Last year, PickNik Robotics was awarded a NASA SBIR Phase 2 contract for advanced robotics planning capabilities in microgravity environments.
The work resulted in a general infrastructure for planning and implementing proposals in a static environment. The insights and experience gained from this project have largely shaped MoveIt Space, PickNik’s supervised autonomous program.
PickNik Robotics also recently won an Advanced Industries Accelerators (AIA) major grant for its aerospace robotics work from the Colorado Bureau of Economic and International Trade.
The AIA program was created in 2013 to promote growth and sustainability in Colorado’s advanced industries by driving innovation, accelerating commercialization, encouraging public-private partnerships, increasing access to early-stage capital, and creating a robust ecosystem that increases the nation’s global competitiveness.
Dr Mark Mull, Director of Research at PickNik Robotics, says: “It is critically important to enhance safety and reduce the cost of spaceflight through robotics, and these three benefits will enable us to support this endeavour.
“Together with the MoveIt Space program and MoveIt Studio, we have more than 40 people at PickNik Robotics, with a combined 363 years of experience in robotics, ready to help organizations of all kinds seize the huge opportunity in space.”
In late March 2022, PickNik Robotics announced that it was collaborating with Sierra Space on robotics for space habitats and deep space missions. PickNik also works with files Motif Space Systems And the Unlimited ropes on space robots.
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