MAXR stock is on the up this week after Maxar Technologies (TSX:MAXR) (NYSE:MAXR) was awarded a NASA contract to demonstrate in-space assembly using a robotic arm.
Maxar said the contract, worth US$142 million, will pair its Dragonfly robotics program, which started in 2015 as a DARPA study, with Restore-L, a refueling spacecraft the company is also building for NASA. The Dragonfly project has now been renamed the Space Infrastructure Dexterous Robot, or SPIDER, and will launch onboard Restore-L in the mid-2020s. The company has identified around US$2 million of work to be performed by West Virginia University through its Robotic Technology Center, including independent verification of SPIDER’s capabilities.
MAXR stock is up over 8% following the announcement on January 31.
The SPIDER arm will be built by Maxar’s team in Pasadena, California, which has previously built six robotic arms for NASA’s Mars landers and rovers, including the one currently operating on InSight Lander and an arm for the upcoming Mars 2020 Rover. Al Tadros, Vice President of space infrastructure and civil space at Maxar Technologies, said that the US$142 million contract will fund the project through completion; however, he did not give a time frame more specific than the mid-2020s for launch. MAXR stock is currently trading for $17.25.
The announcement coincides with news that US President Donald Trump will request a US$3 billion increase to NASA’s budget for 2021, the single largest increase in decades.
MAXR Stock Soars on Revolutionary Technology
Maxar Technologies described the SPIDER project as “revolutionary” and said that the technologies developed “could ultimately enable entirely new architectures and space infrastructure for a wide range of government and commercial missions, including commercial satellites, human space exploration to the Moon and Mars under the Artemis program and in-space telescope assembly.”
MAXR shares reached a 52-week high in January after the company agreed to sell its MDA division to a consortium of investors led by Northern Private Capital (NPC) for C$1 billion. However, those gains were short-lived as the stock came crashing back down last week after the Senate introduced the final draft of the C-Band auction bill, which would cap incentive payments to satellite communication firms at US$1 billion.
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