Unmanned Systems Technology 022 | XOcean XO-450 l Radar systems l Space vehicles insight l Small Robot l BMPower FCPS l Prismatic HALE UAV l InterDrone 2018 show report l UpVision l Navigation systems

44 W ith the growing impetus and means to explore and exploit the resources of space comes a range of new technologies to enable longer and more ambitious missions throughout the Solar System. Corporations and governmental agencies around the world speak openly of mining extra-terrestrial bodies, and establishing colonies around their orbits and on their surfaces, with innovations in propulsion, sensing and extraction paving the way for these enterprises. Logistics The long-term viability of manned orbital habitats depends on the ability to ferry resources to them quickly and economically, from planetary surfaces to space stations for example. In a new leap forward for such orbital logistics capabilities, the Russian side of the International Space Station (ISS) received a near-3 tonne pallet of fuel, food and other provisions in a journey in July that took three hours and 41 minutes from launch to docking. Typically, such missions take two to three days. The delivery was made by a Progress MS-09 unmanned spacecraft from the Russian space agency Roscosmos, which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan using a Soyuz-2 rocket as its booster and carrier. The key to the mission’s record time was aligning the ISS with the path of the cosmodrome by ‘pushing’ it into place using the thrusters of a docked Progress MS-08 spacecraft. This ensured that the ISS was located slightly southwest of the cosmodrome and tracking northeast, ahead of the MS-09 freighter in the same orbital plane. For automated docking, the ISS and Progress MS-09 used their Kurs radio telemetry systems, which involved sending radar pulses from antennas on Rory Jackson gives a round-up of some of the more intriguing unmanned projects heading out into the Solar System A timely boost October/November 2018 | Unmanned Systems Technology SpaceX’s 15th commercial resupply service mission to the ISS carried about 2700 kg of provisions aboard a Dragon unmanned craft (Courtesy of SpaceX)