Study to explore viability of robot-built space outposts made from debris

There’s a lot of perfectly good space junk floating around up there, such as the upper stages of spent rockets. NanoRacks, a company dedicated to democratizing low-earth orbit by supporting innovations like cheap, easily deployed CubeSats, wants to use those in-space structures to build habitats known as Outposts. The Outposts could prove to be crucial infrastructure for commercial space travel and exploration.

Naturally, the heavy lifting — er, weightless shifting — will fall to robots.

Sounds a little far-fetched, to be sure, but NASA is getting behind the idea. The space agency recently chose NanoRacks as one of 13 companies involved in a study of commercial human spaceflight in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This week, NanoRacks shared some details about its Space Outpost Program and identified strategic study partners supporting its efforts, including Olis Robotics, which makes remote robotics software.

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