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Cubesat Repair Robots from Navy Ensign Closer to Launch

By | May 16, 2018
U.S. Navy Ensign Edward “Ned” Hanlon. Courtesy of U.S. Navy

U.S. Navy Ensign Edward “Ned” Hanlon. Courtesy of U.S. Navy

Don’t ever think that you can’t produce meaningful, impactful work during an internship. Just ask U.S. Navy Ensign Edward “Ned” Hanlon, who along with a team of fellow Midshipmen, are now being recognized for their groundbreaking research and development work on a system that efficiently deploys Cubesat repair robots — the Autonomous Mobile On-orbit Diagnostic System (AMODS). Hanlon, a Bowman Scholar now studying in the U.S. Naval Academy’s Postgraduate School (NPS) Systems Engineering department, will witness several of his AMODS system designs in action next month after they are launched into orbit aboard a Rocket Lab Electron commercial launch vehicle. Ensign Hanlon was featured in an article posted May 14 on the U.S. Navy website.

Read more: Bowman Scholar’s USNA CubeSat Research Gets Help from NPS

His Autonomous Mobile On-orbit Diagnostic System (AMODS) piggybacks grapefruit-sized robots in rocket payloads which can then investigate malfunctions, conduct repairs or perform maintenance on satellites. “AMODS basically gives satellite operators another opportunity to interact with their spacecraft once it’s in orbit,” Hanlon said. “Currently, after a spacecraft is launched, it is nearly impossible to physically interact with it again. AMODS can change this.”

Also: Midshipman’s Research Leads to Satellite Repair System

“As a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, Ensign Edward Hanlon interned with the Sandia National Laboratories, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. With several fellow students, he helped develop a novel satellite-fixing robot based on the CubeSat standard. In recognition of this work, the team received the 2016 Secretary of the Navy Innovation Scholar Award.”