NASA's man on the moon goal continues, and its new addition to its roster of companies joining its mission is startup Olis Robotics.

The Seattle company develops software that controls robotic systems from a distance, and together with communication satellite maker Maxar Technologies, Olis' software, "SAMPLR," will be integrated with Maxar's robotic arm, as reported by Forbes.

Olis technology will assist NASA in its moon exploration by directing the Maxar arm in collecting rock samples and examining the moon's surface. In early 2018, Olis, then called BluHaptics, was one of the 128 companies selected by NASA to receive a grant of $750,000 over 24 months. The company also received investments from angel investors, grants from the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Since passing Phase II of NASA's Small Business Innovation Research program for 2017, Olis has taken on subcontractor roles for the federal space agency. What NASA wants for its subcontractors is to have experience in "extreme environments," which Olis is adept at as its software has undergone robotic control tests underwater. Testing in a subaquatic environment allows human operators to deal with the "latency" factor that is crucial for dealing with robotics remotely, especially in space.

"Olis Robotics is extending human reach into the most extreme environments," CEO Don Pickering said. "We're adding new time-saving technology which is safer and more precise than anything on the market currently."

Getting startups and other companies involved in exploring the moon is part of the Artemis program in which NASA plans to send man back to the moon by 2024. The Lunar Gateway, a spaceship that the space agency is developing, will serve as a temporary home for astronauts in space while they are exploring the moon. The gateway will also be used for remote operations that will fit Olis' technology into place.

NASA welcomes companies big and small to participate in their program and invites them to make use of the Lunar Gateway. 

“On top of SLS and Orion we need additional capability, there are opportunities there for all kinds of commercial companies entrepreneurs,” NASA Administrator Jim Berdstine said. 

“We also have small business investment and research that NASA is involved in, and we’re on-ramping small businesses all the time.

A megadeal between NASA and Lockheed Martin calls for a first phase of three Orion capsules that will take astronauts back to the moon A megadeal between NASA and Lockheed Martin calls for a first phase of three Orion capsules that will take astronauts back to the moon Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Ethan Miller