NASA closes down Maxar- led OSAM-1 satellite refueling job

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A “grapple test” of the OSAM-1 spacecraft’s robotic maintenance arm.

NASA

NASA is closing down a $2 billion job to evaluate satellite refueling in area, it revealed Friday, after the firm’s auditor slammed the program’s lead professional, Maxar, pointing out “poor performance.”

The area firm stated in a declaration that the OSAM-1– On- orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1– job was being stopped after almost a years of work.

NASA mentioned in its statement “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.”

The firm stated in a declaration to CNBC that about 450 workers are supporting OSAM-1, however that NASA “is committed to supporting project workforce per plan through fiscal year 2024.”

“While we are disappointed by the decision to discontinue the program, we are committed to supporting NASA in pursuing potential new partnerships or alternative hardware uses as they complete the shutdown,” Maxar Space Systems representative Eric Glass stated in a declaration to CNBC.

Maxar was taken personal by personal equity company Advent International in May 2023 before being divided into 2 companies: Maxar Intelligence, concentrated on satellite images and analytics, and Maxar Space Systems, concentrated on spacecraft production.

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NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland was leading the deal with OSAM-1, with Maxar Space Systems as the job’s prime professional under several offers. OSAM-1 has actually remained in advancement given that 2015, with the objective of docking with the U.S.-owned Landsat 7 images satellite in orbit, to fix and refuel the aging spacecraft to extend its life.

But OSAM-1 has actually fallen years behind schedule, while the program’s expense to NASA skyrocketed. In a scathing October report, NASA’s Inspector General “found that project cost increases and schedule delays were primarily due to the poor performance of Maxar,” while keeping in mind that the firm’s Goddard center has actually likewise dealt with essential parts of advancement.

“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 stated in its report, following a yearlong audit.

The firm’s auditor kept in mind that OSAM-1 was most likely to both “exceed its current $2.05 billion price tag and the December 2026 launch date,” which was currently 6 years behind schedule. The report, pointing out Maxar agents, kept in mind the business was “no longer profiting from their work on OSAM-1” and, in NASA’s view, it no longer appeared “to be a high priority for Maxar in terms of the quality of its staffing.”

NASA’s cancellation of OSAM-1 comes months after Maxar provided significant sectors of the spacecraft to Goddard in Maryland– however other essential parts were yet to be completed.

Satellite maintenance is a nascent sub-sector of the area market that’s just just recently started to be shown out, with Northrop Grumman’s extension objectives representing an early effort.