"First orbital repair by Robot worker completed successfully"
By Martin Harrington
Science Editor, News Network Website
August 9th, 2052
The International Space Station has had it's first repair done entirely unmanned by a Robot worker, "OC-10LHF".
The task assigned to OC-10LHF was to investigate then replace a broken solar panel with a new section.
It started at 12:01 BST, then finished at 13:06 BST.
The work was overseen by astronauts nearby, but the task was performed entirely without their help for the first time in history.
This is in contrast to the past 8 attempts over the past year, each requiring human intervention in some form.
"We've just witnessed a great step towards human life in space - the ability to maintain ourselves in orbit without risking human life" says a spokesperson for the ground control staff at Kennedy Space Center.
The staff was made up of employees from both GravTech & The Adam Project, with NASA technicians handling communication with ISS astronauts in case of a failure.
"We've had a few tries at this, so of course we were bound to do it, but damn it feels good to actually see it!" remarked Adam Project technician Robert Smith.
Part of the procedure was recording the process from start-to-finish, for further analysis of the Robot's steps.
"We gave [OC-10LHF] the manual to read through first, and plenty of video footage from human expeditions in the past, so it had plenty to go off. What we're looking for now is how closely it matched it, or how much it deviated to do it's own method" stated Robert in a statement following the event.
This and previous attempts are part of a shared venture from both companies: Adam Project being responsible for the Robot worker, GravTech for transporting the worker & materials to space.
In a recent statement from GravTech: "[Transporting the robot & materiel has] been a good test of our reusable rocketry technology. The easier it is to get these delicate machines up to space, the wider the range of possibilities."
Some of the previous attempts attracted widespread discussion & mockery.
The 4th trial with Robot "OC-09MSN" ended with it spinning in place whilst attempting to rivet a secure panel, requiring a human operator to override it's Wetware to force it to slow down.
The staff took it in stride, one saying: "We fully enjoyed the various remixes people made, Deja Vu is a personal favourite."
Other trials were less comedic.
During the 5th trial, where OC-09MSN was reused, during the operation it unlatched from an ISS hard point, drifting towards one of the astronauts overseeing it.
"We came dangerously close to losing a life then, just by them being forced away from the ISS without thrusters to move back to safety" remarked a NASA official after the robot was finally caught a few hours later.
Following this trial, the project was put on hold for 3 months.
"Whilst we want to pursue the goal of un-manned work, we got a lot to do, lot of problems to solve - the robot should never be able to disconnect from a hard-point without good reason is just one of those cases" said an Adam Project spokesperson following the 5th trial.
GravTech has announced plans for further tests of unmanned robot repairs.
In a statement put out this morning, they've announced a contract with the United States Space Force: "Following our work so far, we're confident that this joint venture between GravTech & The Adam Project will lend itself to the support of Governments around the world. This is the first step towards that. By maintaining the GPS network, we're hopeful that everyone will begin to see the benefits sooner, rather than later."
The contract will be to perform repairs on the GPS network for an undisclosed amount of time, after initial trials of robot repairs show good results.
"We're absolutely looking at all possible contracts, but in these early stages, the priority is towards those that guarantee repeat interest, or research opportunities." says spokesperson Fidel Pérez, in an interview after the announcement.
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