Collaboration of Nvidia and Qualcomm in Open Source Robotics Alliance to Advance ROS Development

Wendy Tan White Brian Gerkey
The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) this week announced the launch of the similarly named Open Source Robotics Alliance (OSRA). The new initiative is designed to maintain development for and maintenance of open source robotics projects, with a particular focus on the OSRF’s own robot operating system (ROS). First released in 2007 by erstwhile Bay Area incubator Willow Garage, ROS has played a foundational role in robotics development for decades. In a show of support, Nvidia and Qualcomm have both signed on as “Platinum” members for the new alliance, along with Alphabet’s X spinout Intrinsic. Former Open Robotics CEO Brian Gerkey (who current serves as Intrinsic’s CTO) has been appointed to the OSRA’s board of directors.

ULA and Astrobotic Join Forces to Launch, Countdown Capital Ceases Operations

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All eyes are on United Launch Alliance and Pittsburgh-based startup Astrobotic this week, with the two companies gearing up for inaugural missions with huge stakes. The launch features two firsts: the first flight of ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket, and the first time Astrobotic is attempting to put hardware on the moon. If Astrobotic is successful, it would be the first time a private company has put a spacecraft on the moon. Countdown Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on hard tech industrial startups, will shut down by the end of March and return uninvested capital, firm founder and solo general partner Jai Malik said in an annual letter. In addition to the ULA/Astrobotic launch mentioned above, this past week also saw the launch of the first six Starlink satellites equipped for direct-to-cell connectivity.

“Moon Mission: United Launch Alliance and Astrobotic Set for Liftoff on Monday”

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United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket has been rolled to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station ahead of its early Monday morning launch, a mission that could end with the first fully private spacecraft landing on the moon. Vulcan’s primary payload is Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. The two companies had been targeting a Christmas Eve launch, but ULA decided to postpone due to ground system issues. “We are ready for launch, and for landing.”ULA and Pittsburgh-based Astrobotic are not the only firms with much riding on Monday’s launch. That program, Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS), has collectively doled out hundreds of millions to spur private development of moon landers.