Advanced Television

NASA scraps Maxar’s ‘space tug’ refuelling project

March 3, 2024

NASA has ended its $2 billion OSAM-1 project, under development and construction by Maxar Technologies. NASA is unhappy with Maxar’s “poor performance” and delays.

OSAM-1 has been in development since 2015, with the intention of orbital docking with the Landsat 7 imagery satellite in orbit, to repair, refuel and extend the life of the aging spacecraft.

NASA said in a statement that the OSAM-1 — On-orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1 — project was being discontinued after nearly a decade of work. NASA added that “continued technical, cost, and schedule challenges, and a broader community evolution away from refueling unprepared spacecraft, which has led to a lack of a committed partner.”

Reportedly the project has some 450 people working on the satellite, but NASA added “it is committed to supporting project workforce per plan through fiscal year 2024.” OSAM-1 started about a decade ago as Restore-L, with the goal of launching as soon as 2020 to refuel Landsat 7.

The satellite is “six years” behind schedule and not helped by delays caused by Covid.

“NASA and Maxar officials acknowledged that Maxar underestimated the scope and complexity of the work, lacked full understanding of NASA technical requirements, and were deficient in necessary expertise,” NASA’s Inspector General said in its published report, following a yearlong audit.

Business news channel CNBC says that Maxar was no longer profiting from its work on OSAM-1.

Categories: Blogs, Inside Satellite, Satellite

Tags: ,