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SSL Completes Agreement to Partner with DARPA on Satellite Servicing

By | April 14, 2017
      Rendition of DARPA's RSGS.

      Rendition of DARPA’s RSGS. Photo: SSL.

      Space Systems Loral (SSL) announced that it has signed and executed an agreement with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop advanced capabilities for servicing and maintaining spacecraft in geostationary orbit.

      For DARPA’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program, the agency has tapped SSL to provide a spacecraft to carry the robotic servicing payload and manage integration and operation of the spacecraft. DARPA will contribute the robotics technology, expertise, and a government-provided launch. MDA will add a refueling capability to the RSGS program.

      When launched, RSGS will be able to perform multiple servicing missions for both planned and urgent customer needs, including: high-resolution inspection; refueling; correction of mechanical anomalies; assistance with relocation and other orbital maneuvers; and installation of attachable payloads, enabling upgrades to existing assets.

      DARPA and SSL have finalized the agreement despite pending litigation from Orbital ATK, which sued DARPA in February because it is developing similar satellite servicing technology.