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SSL Completes Agreement to Partner With DARPA On Satellite Servicing

Space Systems Loral (SSL),a leading provider of innovative satellites and spacecraft systems, today announced that it has signed and executed an agreement with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop advanced capabilities for servicing and maintaining spacecraft in geostationary orbit.  Details of the partnership were previously released on February 9, 2017.

RSGS Artists concept; Credits: SSLMDA

From the February 9, 2017 release:

Based on its industry leading platform, SSL is expected to provide a spacecraft to carry the robotic servicing payload and will manage integration and operation of the spacecraft. DARPA will contribute the robotics technology, expertise, and a government-provided launch. MDA will add a refueling capability to the RSGS program (Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites).

When launched, RSGS will have the capability to perform multiple servicing missions for both planned and urgent customer needs, including: high-resolution inspection; refueling; correction of mechanical anomalies; assistance with relocation and other orbital maneuvers; and installation of attachable payloads, enabling upgrades to existing assets. The company will market these services as a commercial business and is already in discussion with several key customers.

“RSGS’s capability will be marketed to both commercial and government satellite operators, providing them with unprecedented flexibility in fleet management and capital deployment,” said Steve Oldham, senior vice president, strategic business development, SSL. “Refueling provides a compelling value proposition and our sophisticated robotic capability will enable new on-orbit applications only available from RSGS.”

SSL is a U.S. company, which employs more than 2,000 people in Palo Alto, California, where it has done business for 60 years. The work scope for the DARPA mission will be performed in its U.S. facility by its staff of engineers and technicians based in California.

“SSL is looking ahead to help satellite operators and government agencies address the demand for cost efficiency paired with next generation technology,” said Howard Lance, chief executive officer, SSL MDA Holdings. “Now SSL is working with both NASA and DARPA on their programs which develop a range of cooperative in-orbit satellite servicing capabilities that will shape future space architectures and provide flexibility for how both commercial and government satellite operators manage their fleets.”

Original published at: https://spacewatch.global/2017/04/ssl-completes-agreement-partner-darpa-satellite-servicing/

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