Altius is a space robotics and technology company with expertise in orbital rendezvous and capture robotics, active debris removal, spacecraft mechanisms, assistive telerobotics, in-space propellant transfer, satellite servicing, in-orbit assembly and manufacturing. Our mission is to support sustainable space and provide cost-effective and reliable satellite servicing and end-of-life services.
Product/Service - Bulldog Servicer
- In-Space Transportation
- On-Orbit Servicing
- In-Space Satellite Servicing
- Concept, Acquired
- First launch
- Not announced
The Bulldog is a microsatellite-scale (<100kg) servicing tug vehicle that combines high-performance solar electric propulsion systems with innovative magnetic capture and modular servicing robotics, enabling a wide range of space missions, including: spacecraft repositioning, refueling, modular repair or upgrade, modular assembly, space logistics deliveries to facilities, and backup post-mission disposal services.
- The small form factor is enabled by the use of our EMBARC (Electromagnetic Boom-Assisted Robotic Capture) magnetic capture arm. EMBARC is a 6DOF, long-reach (>3m) extendable/retractable robot arm with a 2DOF shoulder, an extendable/retractable composite boom acting as a linear degree of freedom, a 3DOF articulated wrist, and a dual-mode electropermanent magnetic grapple head at the distal end.
- The EMBARC arm enables reliable capture at a safe distance from client spacecraft equipped with a magnetic grapple fixture like Altius' DogTag, even if they’re tumbling or moving relative to the servicer. This eliminates the need for high-thrust formation flight for capturing tumbling targets, and enables the use of high-efficiency low-thrust propulsion systems for most maneuvers. Bulldog includes a traditional 6DOF arm for connecting refueling interfaces, and installing or assembling modules onto a client spacecraft. Because EMBARC handles the highly-dynamic spacecraft capture process, this second servicing arm has greatly relaxed technical requirements.
February 10, 2022, marked a major milestone for Voyager Space and Altius Space Machines: not only was this our first successful launch of 2022, but it also marks over 300 DogTags™ having launched into space! An Arianespace Syouz rocket lifted off from French Guiana, carrying 34 OneWeb satellites, all equipped with Altius DogTags to support future end-of-life operations and mitigate future space debris as part of OneWeb’s Responsible Space program.
Altius’ DogTag grapple fixture is a commercially available universal grappling point for satellites which supports a variety of grappling approaches, including mechanical, magnetic and electrostatic. We’re especially proud of the DogTags’ ability to help mitigate the growing space debris problem by making it easier to de-orbit non-functioning satellites. DogTags can also be used to tug functional satellites to new orbits and act as anchor points for satellite servicing.
These small, low-profile EPM-based magnetic latching connectors enable various types of modules to be attached to a target spacecraft to facilitate repairs, fluid transfer, modular upgrades, and ground or in-space installation of hosted payloads.
Altius’ ESCHER interface provides a universal interface for autonomous in-space or lunar surface assembly. Acting as both a structural interconnect and a grapple interface, it enables robotic systems to pick, place, and latch modular pieces of structure with the click of a button. The lightweight, dust tolerant, design uses EPM latching technology to ensure high reliability and removes the need for complex robotic manipulation or tool changing during the assembly process.
Redundant mechanical latches mean the interface is robust against anything you throw at it and the scalable form factor is ready to be integrated into your most challenging application.
Altius to Contribute Technology to Robotic Arms for DoD On-Orbit Servicing
The contract enables Altius to assist Maxar in developing two flight-ready robotic arms, each 2 meters in length. Each arm will be underactuated, with a single motor running a tensioned cable system to transmit torque to any number of joints, reducing weight and cost. Altius will supply novel and capable interfaces for each robotic arm, a key technology for the success of the project. We will provide our MagTag™ universal satellite servicing interface, and our Dust Tolerant Tool-changer Interface (DTTI).
As of early 2023, the website does not seem to mention Bulldog servicing vehicle and offer in-space servicing services. Setting the status as Concept (and possibly Cancelled) in the context of in-space economy and this database.