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An In-Orbit conversation about economic opportunities in space

Updated: May 17

The UK space economy is changing at a rapid pace. So we were excited to help kick off the new series of the In-Orbit Podcast earlier this month, to discuss the crucial role robotics will play in its advancement alongside other experts in the field.

in-orbit podcast

Hosted by Dallas Campbell and recorded on-location at the Catapult test facility for In-Orbit Service and Manufacturing (IOSM), our Business Development Director, Azmat Hossain was joined by Jeremy Hadall and Dr Elie Allouis, from Satellite Applications Catapult and Airbus, respectively.

The conversation focused on the ways robotics is set to shape the future of the space economy, from servicing satellites in-orbit to building large structures entirely in space.

With specific reference to the International Space Station, the panel discussed how robotics have already been used in this context. Specifically, Jeremy Hadall went on to explain how developments in robotics are enabling robotic arms to be smaller, cheaper and less complex to control, with the ultimate aim of not needing a manned spacecraft in the nearby vicinity – something that we have already explored with our recent test case at IOSM.

Another key point was the potential for solutions like ours to be used to allow repairs to be undertaken remotely in space, prolonging the lifespan of satellites and other in-orbit technology.

Dr Elis Allouis, Robotics Expert at Airbus, commented:

“Right now we’re looking at what can we do and how can we manage these platforms as they are today…. What are the options to service them; how to upgrade some of their payload, how to refuel them and extend their lifetime.”

The podcast was a fantastic opportunity for us to talk about the exciting seemingly open-ended possibilities that space presents, as well as the very real potential for our technology to make those possibilities a reality.

As Jeremy Hadall summarised:

“We’ve got a lot of big companies like Airbus and also smaller startups and SMEs like Extend in the ecosystem, and we’ve all got this vision of: This is a commercial opportunity for the UK, I say yeah – it’s really exciting.”

“The key thing about this is space is becoming a commercial enterprise, it’s no longer just about the exploration and understanding what’s out there. It’s about how do we use those resources, how do we use those resources sustainably, but how do we also make money out of it essentially.”

The podcast is available to listen to via the Catapult website, and to watch in full via YouTube.

extend robotics, catapult, airbus and in-orbit logos



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