Space Commerce

Arkisys Inc and Partners Awarded Pioneering Contract by the U.S. Space Force

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 20, 2023
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Arkisys Inc and Partners Awarded Pioneering Contract by the U.S. Space Force

Arkisys Inc, with partners Qediq Inc, Novawurks, Motive Space Systems, iBoss, and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), has been awarded a Direct-to-Phase II SBIR contract by SpaceWERX, the innovation arm of the U.S. Space Force (SpaceWERX, a component of the Air Force ResearchLaboratory (AFRL)).

Led by Arkisys Inc, this newly funded project— demonstrating the building of a standalone 3-axis stabilized satellite on the Port Module—directly addresses the Space Force’s desire to make space operations more resilient and expand commercial activities in space.

“This new effort expands the overall services we have created to include the high fidelity manipulation required to assemble and then release a new space platform off of our Ports in orbit,” said Dave Barnhart of Arkisys Inc. “This award opens up a unique methodology to support on-orbit flexibility, mission change in flight, high fidelity manipulation, and assembly of complex objects. And it’s super cool!”

“Through the unique SBIR process from U.S. Space Force and SpaceWERX, we will address using resources in space to create new platforms or modify them on the fly, rather than only build new ones,” said Talbot Jaeger, CTO of Novawurks Inc. “The Port will demonstrate a platform that can create a space system from parts into an operational element. We are proud to support Arkisys with our unique HISat system to achieve a full-scale demonstration.”

The Port team will execute a full-scale demonstration in 1G to validate robotic operations in assembling a separable functional space platform, on a Port Module.

“The ability to assemble a functional satellite off of another platform is something that will open up not just Earth orbit markets and on-the-fly changes to existing satellites, but to on demand satellites for lunar or Martian exploration,” said Dr. Robert Ambrose, director of space and robotics Initiatives at TEES. “This is incredibly exciting for us as we are developing platforms to validate and demonstrate higher fidelity robotics on orbit, to build, assemble, repair and operate .”

About Arkisys Inc: Arkisys, Inc., located in Los Alamitos, California with locations in New Zealand and Singapore, is a provider of advanced spacecraft architectures, structures, and platform solutions. Arkisys is building the first long-duration space platform in a scalable architecture to robotically enable Ports in Space to provide multiple capabilities and services for a global customer base. For more information, visit

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About NovaWurks: NovaWurks provides a variety of solutions as part of its SLEGO architecture-based modules which include Hyper-Integrated Satlets (HISats) which are flexible building blocks that are distributable, aggregable, scalable, and customizable to meet a customer’s individual project requirements. The nature of the products is to provide component solutions that are rapidly adaptable to match a customer’s unique specifications. Visit

About Motiv: Motiv Space Systems is a small business that brings innovative robotics and motion control solutions to the space market. Motiv provides robotic solutions that play a key role in enhancing scientific and engineering capabilities in Earth orbit and beyond, producing technology that is at the forefront of space-based manufacturing, logistics, and the exploration of our solar system. Motiv’s portfolio of robotic solutions is a testament to our goal of developing capabilities to enable new applications and markets in space. Visit

About Qediq: Qediq Corporation provides our clients with the management and technical expertise they need to achieve their goals on time and on budget. Whether you are a startup or an established Fortune 100 company, Qediq provides you with the focus and flexibility needed during all stages of delivery of systems to production. For more information, visit

About the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station: As an engineering research agency of Texas, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) performs quality research driven by world problems; strengthens and expands the state’s workforce through educational partnerships and training; and develops and transfers technology to industry. TEES partners with academic institutions, governmental agencies, industries and communities to solve problems to help improve quality of life, promote economic development and enhance educational systems.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.