Turion wins Space Force contract for debris-capture technology | Space

WASHINGTON — Turion Space, an Irvine, California-based startup, has secured a $1.9 million contract from SpaceWERX, the U.S. Space Force’s technology arm, to develop an autonomous spacecraft docking and maneuvering system. The contract aims to advance technologies for engaging uncooperative space objects and facilitating the deorbit of inactive satellites.

Ryan Westerdahl, Turion’s co-founder and CEO, said in an interview that the company is focusing on in-space mobility and non-Earth imaging. Turion launched its first satellite, Droid.001, a 32-kilogram spacecraft designed for space situational awareness, in June 2023. Data from this satellite is being integrated into the Space Force’s Unified Data Library.

Westerdahl revealed plans for a demonstration as early as 2026, featuring a Droid mothership hosting “micro-Droid” satellites equipped with the capturing device being developed under the SpaceWERX contract. The micro-Droid, partly funded by NASA, will use grapplers to capture debris objects.

“The space debris problem can be solved with a better understanding of where things are in the space domain so operational satellites can maneuver without regret to avoid collisions, and by removing large non-maneuverable objects,” Westerdahl explained.

While Turion’s long-term goal is to provide a debris removal service, the…

Source spacenews.com

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