DARPA Mr Fix- It In Space
|Source: NASA SAT|
The US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, has launched an innovative program to extend the life of US satellites orbiting in space. In essence, DARPA is creating a robotic system to inspect, service, repair, improve and extend the lives of US satellites in orbit. The program promises significant money savings and much longer and efficient use of satellites.
DARPA is partnering with Space Logistics, a subsidiary of Northrup Grumman, to develop and deploy advanced robotic capabilities in space. The first step is to develop what DARPA is calling a "DEXTEROUS ROBOTIC SERVICE". The technology needed would increase satellite life spans, improve their reliability and resilience. All of which would save the US government and space companies significant money lost when a satellite's operations breakdown and are currently unfixable in their space orbit.
The robotic servicing system would be in GEO or geosynchronous orbit, as are the satellites that it will be servicing. Space Logistics will build the robotic servicing spacecraft, integrate it with a launch vehicle, do the launch and then offer commercial satellite servicing to government and commercial client spacecraft. This promises to be a much needed maintenance and repair service for satellites.
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