Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List


Related to manmade objects placed in Earth orbit for military, commercial or scientific use

Showing 34 results for Satellites + Space RSS
May 22, 2019, 9:00 AM ET,
The Naval Research Laboratory
The Tactical Technology Office is holding a Proposers Day meeting to provide information to potential proposers on the objectives of the new Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program and to facilitate teaming. The principal objective of RSGS is to create a dexterous robotic operational capability in Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO) that can both provide increased resilience for the current U.S. space infrastructure and be the first concrete step toward a transformed space architecture with revolutionary capabilities. A robotic servicing vehicle comprised of a robotic payload and a spacecraft bus will be jointly developed by DARPA, and the partner team selected. The long-term vision of the RSGS program is to enable a persistent, reliable, cost-effective cooperative robotic servicing capability in GEO, beginning with the robotic servicer developed under the RSGS program and operated by a commercial entity.
Satellites today are launched via booster rocket from a limited number of ground facilities, which can involve a month or longer of preparation for a small payload and significant cost for each mission. Launch costs are driven in part today by fixed site infrastructure, integration, checkout and flight rules. Fixed launch sites can be rendered idle by something as innocuous as rain, and they also limit the direction and timing of orbits satellites can achieve.
Recent technological advances have made the longstanding dream of on-orbit robotic servicing of satellites a near-term possibility. The potential advantages of that unprecedented capability are enormous. Instead of designing their satellites to accommodate the harsh reality that, once launched, their investments could never be repaired or upgraded, satellite owners could use robotic vehicles to physically inspect, assist, and modify their on-orbit assets. That could significantly lower construction and deployment costs while dramatically extending satellite utility, resilience, and reliability.
The traditional process of designing, developing, building and deploying space systems is long, expensive and complex. These difficulties apply especially to the increasing number of expensive, mission-critical satellites launched every year into geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), approximately 22,000 miles above the Earth. Unlike objects in low Earth orbit (LEO), such as the Hubble Space Telescope, satellites in GEO are essentially unreachable with current technology.
Hundreds of military, government and commercial satellites reside today in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) some 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth—a perch ideal for providing communications, meteorology and national security services, but one so remote as to preclude inspection and diagnosis of malfunctioning components, much less upgrades or repairs. Even fully functional satellites sometimes find their working lives cut short simply because they carry obsolete payloads—a frustrating situation for owners of assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars.