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DARPA Bolsters Blueprint To Build Robotic Services For Satellites

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the space-garage dept.

Space 10

coondoggie writes In five years the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to launch a robotic servicing mission to inspect, fix, refuel, or move satellites in geostationary Earth orbit. In order to move that plan along, the research agency today issued a Request for Information calling on commercial and private space groups to provide details on what it would take to accomplish that lofty goal. To expedite the mission, DARPA said it is considering the possibility of integrating DARPA-developed space robotics technologies onto commercial spacecraft to create a jointly developed GEO robotic service craft.

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1st (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47823625)

est!

and so the robots escaped into space (1)

amias (105819) | about 4 months ago | (#47823637)

and we didn't see them again for another 1000 years

Re:and so the robots escaped into space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47823765)

What goes around, comes around. Especially true in space.

Re:and so the robots escaped into space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47824741)

What goes around, comes around. Especially true in space.

Well, some things might take a while to prove that...

And to think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47823767)

we can't even send people to GEO but some people think we'll colonize the stars... sheesh. Send machines, no one's going anywhere.

Look into the feasibiliy of EmDrive propulsion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47823803)

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-07/31/nasa-validates-impossible-space-drive

It's The Money, Stupid (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | about 4 months ago | (#47825365)

Step 1. Stop giving money to Russia for its rockets.

Step 2. Invest that money into US private space firms instead.

Screw DARPA, give it to NASA (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#47826225)

NASA has wanted to do this for, literally, decades. I believe they first proposed this in the 1970s, and every few years since, but Congress will never appropriate the money. DARPA will have this money tomorrow, if they really want it. Makes me sick.

Re:Screw DARPA, give it to NASA (1)

decsnake (6658) | about 4 months ago | (#47827595)

There has been a satellite servicing project at NASA/Goddard for about, uh, 3 decades. While for most of its existence it was focused on servicing performed by astronauts, there has always been some work going on in robotic servicing. One of the recent accomplishments was a robotic refueling demonstration

http://ssco.gsfc.nasa.gov/robo... [nasa.gov]

The only time the robotic effort was funded it a relatively high level was during the space station freedom era, and that only lasted for a couple of years before congress pulled the plug. To make matters worse, most of the money that was appropriated went to Martin-Marietta for concept studies

http://www.astronautix.com/cra... [astronautix.com]

Re:Screw DARPA, give it to NASA (1)

cusco (717999) | about 4 months ago | (#47827817)

I remember proposals for robotic servicing of satellites in GEO when I was in high school, so that would have been the late-'70s, because it was not thought to be worthwhile to send humans to that distance. All of the satellite servicing missions NASA was able to carry out were done in LEO, IIRC the Hubble servicing missions were at the maximum altitude the Shuttle could reach. There has been some movement in the last few years to standardize on fuel inlets for GEO comm satellites in the hope that future refueling operations can extend their functional lifespan, but I'm not sure how far that has gotten.

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