In Space, It’s All About the Connections

SpaceWorks® preparing FuseBlox™ to be a Universal Connector for Space Assembly, Servicing and Construction

August 30, 2021 (ATLANTA) – SpaceWorks® is currently on track to test its new hardware product that could revolutionize how future space stations, satellites, and space telescopes are built. FuseBlox™ is a scalable and multifunctional rendezvous and docking connector technology that will enable on-orbit satellite servicing, modular assembly of large space structures, and space-based manufacturing and construction. SpaceWorks was awarded a protective patent on the novel FuseBlox design by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in July of 2021.

SpaceWorks’ development efforts began in 2016 with a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Current sponsorship is provided by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate’s Commercial Readiness Program. Having recently passed the project’s Test Readiness Review, FuseBlox now moves to the final phases of ground qualification testing at facilities in Georgia, Alabama, and New Mexico. The current project will culminate with the delivery of two flight-ready FuseBlox units to AFRL later this fall.

FuseBlox™ is a scalable and multifunctional rendezvous and docking connector technology that will enable on-orbit satellite servicing, modular assembly of large space structures, and space-based manufacturing and construction.

“SpaceWorks has the potential to be part of some true technological breakthroughs with this project,” said Air Force Research Laboratory engineer 1st Lt. Andrew Vogel of the U.S. Space Force. While large purpose-built docking adapters currently connect portions of the International Space Station, FuseBlox offers a scalable docking connection suited to a myriad of emerging applications including orbiting telescopes that find the next galaxies and planets, satellite refueling stations and orbital debris mitigation tugs, space-based solar power satellites that promise a future green solution to off-world power generation, space-based medical research facilities, as well as on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM).

While other connector technologies are hindered by limitations of alignment and male/female pairing, FuseBlox is self-aligning, androgynous, reversible, and capable of multiple docking orientations — helping space-operations personnel by providing more flexibility in space without the worry of predetermined male and female connectivity. “The four ‘inward claw type’ docking mechanisms make our devices more tolerant to alignment errors, an important feature while working in zero gravity,” said Alex Ribner, Chief Engineer of the project. “As a result of the FuseBlox faceplate design, space-operations personnel can achieve dockings from multiple angles, making connections much more flexible in space.” The FuseBlox connector is also capable of transferring power and data across a mated connection. Upcoming versions will also provide options to transfer liquids and gasses across the FuseBlox interface.

AFRL-KAFB Public Affairs Office release approval #45667, August 2021
Engineer Adam King (right) demonstrates the operation of the FuseBlox to our Space Force Program Manager, Lt Andrew Vogel.

“We’ve made tremendous progress since being awarded the AFRL Phase II Small Business Innovative Research Commercial Readiness Program (SBIR-CRP) contract in April 2020,” said Charles Hall, project manager at SpaceWorks. “Our ground testing will expose FuseBlox to a range of conditions, including hot and cold temperatures, vacuum, vibration, and various electromagnetic signals. The purpose of this rigorous testing is to prove that FuseBlox has the durability and workmanship needed to survive launch and space for extended periods.”

What’s next? As we advance to the critical milestone of TRL 6 for FuseBlox, Dr. John Bradford, President and Chief Technical Officer of SpaceWorks noted, “We look forward to one day seeing FuseBlox as the universal interface that will hold many of our future assemblies in space, helping to bring solutions to mankind, from medical breakthroughs to power solutions for the next generation.”

About SpaceWorks

SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), based in Atlanta, Georgia, specializes in leading edge space and flight product development, advanced aerospace concepts, systems engineering, software development, and economic consulting to enhance engineering design and analysis for a broad and diverse customer base. SpaceWorks is dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art in the commercial space sector from early design phases to flight demonstration. For more information, please visit

Pictures approved for public release AFRL-KAFB Public Affairs Office approval #45667, August 2021. Also contains quotes from Public Affairs approval #AFMC-2020-0216, April 2020. Distribution is unlimited.

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