DARPA Eyes Public-Private Partnership for Robotic Space Servicing Program

SpaceFenceThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking at potential public-private partnerships to advance the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program, which pushes to enable robotic support for geosynchronous Earth orbit satellites within five years.

DARPA said Friday RSGS looks to create a commercially owned and operated robotic servicing vehicle with an agency-built toolkit to be integrated with a privately-made spacecraft.

The RSV will feature DARPA’s FREND robotic arm, which the agency will update with machine vision and other functionality to carry out tasks, and a new mission-planning software to guide the spacecraft.

“[A] key goal of the RSGS program is to establish best practices and voluntary standards for space servicing operations,” said Brad Tousley, director of DARPA’s tactical technology office.

“Government and industry need to work together to set safety standards as well as to take advantage of the servicer’s new capabilities.”

DARPA said it seeks to establish public-private partnerships to invest in the development of robotic servicing technology that both military and commercial GEO satellite operators can use on a fee-for-service model.

The agency plans to release a solicitation for potential industry partners through FedBizOpps.

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