Docking Mechanism Design Offers Unprecedented Performance, Size and Scalability for Any Size Spacecraft

ANN ARBOR, MI, February 1, 2004 — Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC), an advanced mechanical engineering firm, today announced that it had received a $220K, one-year contract from Microcosm, Inc. as part of a larger grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to refine its docking system for spacecraft. Earlier prototypes have been tested on the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) flat-floor as well as on the Johnson Space Center (JSC) KC-135 micro-gravity aircraft. Under this contract, refinements will be made to the mechanism based on the lessons learned from these tests. The Boeing Company will be performing simulations under this program to evaluate the design.

World events have proven how the United States has come to rely on its space assets, especially during times of crisis. It has become clear that the ability to autonomously rendezvous, dock, inspect and service both military and civilian assets is no longer a nicety, but a necessity.

MAC is a leading-edge developer of mechanisms for docking and servicing of spacecraft and holds patents on several devices that increase the compliance, robustness, and reliability to unprecedented levels. The company manufactures, integrates, assembles, and tests these and other instruments for ground, aircraft and space applications.