Rob Hoyt at Tethers Unlimited described how he plans to integrate their projects to bootstrap an off-world economy.
There is a chicken and the egg problem to get the various parts of the plan developed to have supply and demand activated at nearly the same time.
They have a water-based propulsion unit as the first element. They are working on LEO Knight a Small Satellite Servicing machine. They also have a KRAKEN robotic arm.
The HYDROS Propulsion System uses on-orbit electrolysis of water to generate hydrogen and oxygen propellant, which are fed to a simple bipropellant thruster. To enable this, we have developed a compact electrolysis cell designed to operate in microgravity. HYDROS enables you to launch your CubeSat with an inert, green propellant – water – and use solar power to provide high thrust and high specific impulse propulsion. The HYDROS system can provide 100 Ns per 100 ml of water, and is readily scalable to provide larger ∆V’s.
The HYDROS Propulsion System is available in two standard configurations: a 2U HYDROS-C module intended for CubeSats and NanoSats, and a HYDROS-M module intended for 50-180 kg microsatellites. TUI can also develop customized tank configurations of these modules for your spacecraft for a reasonable NRE cost.
A few units of the HYDROS Propulsion system was delivered to a classified project in 2018.
Tethers Unlimited is currently developing a robotic arm designed to enable very small spacecraft, such as CubeSats and nanosatellites, to perform challenging missions such as on-orbit assemby, satellite servicing, and debris capture. The KRAKEN Robotic Arm is designed to stow in a very compact manner – two arms will stow within a 3U volume – but provide high dexterity (up to 11 DOF) and high precision over a large workspace (2 m dia. hemispherical workspace per arm).
AFRL funded Hyperbus 12U Hosted Payload Service.
Tethers Unlimited is enabling all of their products with refueling ports.
Tethers Unlimited is getting ready to fly the Trusselator and Makersat systems in space with the Dragonfly project.
Rob described that the tether funding was too inconsistent and so ten years ago they had to branch out into a lot of different technologies.
SOURCE – Live coverage of Rob Hoyt presentation at Space Access 2019, Tethers Unlimited
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com