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DARPA continues work on satellite servicing program as it seeks new ride

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Practically two months after Maxar dropped out of a Protection Superior Analysis Tasks Company program to display satellite tv for pc servicing, the company is constant to develop the servicing know-how because it examines choices to get it into house.

Maxar’s House Methods Loral enterprise unit had been working with DARPA on the Robotic Servicing for Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program beneath a public-private partnership finalized in 2017. Below that settlement, DARPA, working with the Naval Analysis Laboratory, would supply the satellite tv for pc servicing payload, which Maxar would combine on considered one of its satellite tv for pc buses. After an in-space demonstration, Maxar would then be free to make use of the RSGS know-how for industrial functions.

Nonetheless, Maxar announced Jan. 30 that it was terminating its role in the program, citing monetary points as the corporate labored to restructure its general satellite tv for pc enterprise amid an prolonged drought in industrial GEO satellite tv for pc orders.

“The problem with RSGS was merely that it was a bridge too far,” Walter Scott, government vice chairman and chief know-how officer of Maxar, stated in a SpaceNews interview in February. “Given the present state of affairs, it was not one of the best use of Maxar’s capital.”

Whereas Maxar will not be offering the satellite tv for pc bus, work on the servicing payload continues. Among the many corporations concerned in that effort is Praxis, an organization dealing with planning for mission operations of the RSGS servicing system, comparable to how the system will safely grapple the goal satellite tv for pc.

“For our day-to-day operations, that hasn’t actually affected us. We’re fairly far alongside on the payload growth,” stated Tony Marzi, normal supervisor of Praxis, throughout a presentation on the MIT New House Age Convention on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how right here March 15.

Whereas Praxis and different corporations proceed work on the RSGS payload, DARPA is in search of alternatives for brand new methods to fly it. The company issued a request for information Feb. 6, in search of enter on potential other ways of flying the mission. That features info on “spacecraft buses with GEO heritage” that might carry the payload, mission operations relating to servicing of each authorities and industrial satellites, and enterprise fashions for the RSGS mission.

Responses to the request for info had been due Feb. 22, a deadline that DARPA later prolonged to March 1. Many of the doc was dedicated to technical particulars concerning the RSGS payload and its interface necessities with a spacecraft bus.

“DARPA is at present evaluating a number of choices for the RSGS program going ahead, together with a possible re-competition or program restructure,” the company acknowledged within the request. The company hasn’t up to date the standing of this system since then.

Marzi stated he was optimistic that the RSGS program will proceed in some various style. “DARPA is working fairly exhausting to determine what the following steps are,” he stated. “The suggestions and the discussions which might be occurring across the authorities about this functionality is that it’s essential and it’s very thrilling.”


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