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JAXA and GITAI to Demonstrate Robotics in Space

Jan, 2021

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JAXA and GITAI will work on ways that robots can handle scientific experiments, specific tasks, and maintenance aboard the International Space Station.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) teamed up with GITAI (a space robotics startup) to create the world's first business concept, robotics demonstration in space as a part of the JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC) initiative. The initiative aims to demonstrate the potential of robotics, develop robotic technologies to carry out the tasks aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and provide services using robots. GITAI will perform a robotics demonstration of its robot designed to perform specific tasks with autonomous control.

Whereas Japan’s space agency will support the activities of GITAI through technical cooperation and expand its knowledge on space robotics through the J-SPARC initiative. Moreover, based on space robotics, JAXA and GITAI will explore new services that can be provided for the ISS and other future missions. The goal of robotics is to design intelligent machines that can help and assist humans in their day-to-day lives and keep everyone safe. Robotics is particularly attractive is in the exploration and exploitation of space. These space exploration tasks often require subtle, precise, and complex movements that demand either a highly specialized bespoke mechanism or a robot.

Moreover, JAXA and GITAI will work on ways that robots can handle scientific experiments, specific tasks, and maintenance aboard the International Space Station. GITAI made a mockery of the Japanese Experiment Module Kibo and is implementing tests there to develop and verify its robots. GITAI will be the first private company to demonstrate its ability to carry out versatile tasks, such as assembling panels, plugging/unplugging cables, and operating switches, in the BISHOP Airlock Module. Currently, JAXA is working to expand private-sector participation in activities in the Kibo module to promote the sustainable development of low Earth orbit missions, including the Kibo mission.

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