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DARPA Satellite Servicing Robot Design Passes Review

By | August 20, 2018
DARPA RSGS passes critical design review.

DARPA’s RSGS In-orbit servicing arm. Photo: DARPA

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completed a milestone review last month for the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program. During the review, DARPA’s robotic payload partner, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), presented critical design and integration products during the review ranging from interface control documents to plans for testing, verification, and validation. The successful completion of the test keeps RSGS on track for its targeted launch in 2021.

“NRL was able to demonstrate that its payload design meets DARPA’s objectives and is compatible with the spacecraft bus being provided by SSL. We are well on our way to significantly improving the resiliency and functionality of government and commercial spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit,” DARPA RSGS Program Manager Joe Parrish said in a statement.

DARPA said that flight versions of two RSGS dexterous robotic manipulator arms, which will allow up-close inspection, repair, and installation of technical packages on the exterior of U.S. satellites, are in production and will be delivered to the agency 2019. SSL is on track for the systems requirements review for the spacecraft bus in October 2018. After DARPA completes an on-orbit checkout and demonstration phase, SSL will operate the vehicle and make cooperative servicing available to both military and commercial geosynchronous orbit satellite owners on a fee-for-service basis. In exchange for providing property to SSL, the government will obtain reduced-priced servicing of its satellites and access to commercial satellite servicing data throughout the operational life of the RSGS spacecraft.