Tethers Unlimited wins backing for space gizmos

ARTIE tool-changing interface
Tethers Unlimited’s Androgynous Robotic Tool-change Interface, or ARTIE, is a hot-swappable tool-change interface for the Kraken robotic arm. (Tethers Unlimited Illustration)

NASA today awarded up to $45.4 million for 363 aerospace projects proposed by small businesses and research institutions — including Bothell, Wash.-based Tethers Unlimited, which snagged five of the awards.

Phase I grants of up to $125,000 each will go to the latest crop of winners in NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, also known as SBIR and STTR.

Tethers Unlimited traditionally does well in the SBIR/STTR competition. In the past, the company has won NASA’s backing for research into technologies ranging from in-space construction to 3-D printing and plastic recycling in zero gravity.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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