DARPA’s Robotic In-Space Mechanic Aces Tests, on Track for Launch

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Source: DARPA

November 9, 2022 | Originally published by DARPA on November 8, 2022

All component-level tests are complete on DARPA’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program, and the on-orbit demonstration mission is on schedule for launch in 2024. The RSGS goal is to enable inspection and servicing of satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), where hundreds of satellites provide communications, meteorological, national security, and other vital functions. Currently, no options exist for visual diagnosis, upgrades, or repairs of a malfunctioning satellite’s components.

Throughout the remainder of this year, engineers will complete testing of the flight robotic hardware and software. Integration of the robotic payload with the spacecraft bus will begin in 2023, followed by testing and verification of the combined system. After launch in 2024, the host vehicle will use highly efficient electric propulsion to climb to GEO. Following a period of checkout and calibration activities, the program anticipates on-orbit satellite servicing activities will begin in 2025.