Don't miss the latest space insights

Subscribe to our newsletter

Northrop Grumman subsidiary secures DARPA robotic servicing mission

Stephen Kuper

SpaceLogistics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Northrop Grumman, has been selected by DARPA as its commercial partner for the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program.

Northrop Grumman subsidiary secures DARPA robotic servicing mission
nestegg logo

The groundbreaking mission will feature the first-ever commercial robotic servicing spacecraft and aims to expand the market for satellite servicing of both commercial and government client satellites with advanced robotics technology.

The program objectives include enhanced capabilities such as in-orbit repair, augmentation, assembly, detailed inspection and relocation of client satellites.

Under the agreement, DARPA will provide the robotics payload for the Space Logistics Mission Robotic Vehicle.

This payload, developed and integrated by the US Naval Research Laboratory, consists of two dexterous robotic manipulator arms, along with several tools and sensors.

Advertisement
Advertisement

SpaceLogistics will provide its Mission Robotic Vehicle bus leveraging technologies developed for the industry’s first- ever satellite servicing vehicle, the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV).

Designed and built by Northrop Grumman, MEV-1 was launched in October 2019 and successfully completed the first docking in geosynchronous orbit with an Intelsat satellite in late February 2020. 

Northrop Grumman will channel its deep expertise in spacecraft development and on-orbit servicing to lead the system level design, integration, testing, launch and mission operations over the life of the satellite.

Tom Wilson, president of SpaceLogistics LLC, explained, "The new robotics technology on this mission advances our vision to build a fleet of satellite servicing vehicles that provide customers with a variety of options to select the type of life-extension or in-orbit repairs they need."

In addition to the Mission Robotic Vehicle for SpaceLogistics, Northrop Grumman is developing expanded life extension services for the mission that include Mission Extension Pods.

The new pods augment the propulsion system of ageing satellites and provide six years of orbital life extension. The Mission Robotic Vehicle will be used to install these augmentation platforms on existing in-orbit commercial and government client satellites to extend their mission lives.

 

Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect here.

Tags
Category
Receive the latest developments and updates on Australia’s space industry direct to your inbox. Subscribe today to Space Connect.

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.