On orbit servicing of satellites is soon to become the next big space endeavor and Northrop Grumman is already ahead of the game with early vehicles performing that mission. What is needed is help determining how those vehicles do their job, including mission tools and components, and you can be part of it!

In the past, satellite constellations were launched with an expressed lifetime after which they would be replaced by newly launched satellites. Northrop Grumman Corporation has demonstrated with the Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) that life extension of satellites is possible and a new paradigm for operability of satellites has begun. The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has selected Space Logistics LLC, (subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Corporation), as its commercial partner for the agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program. The groundbreaking mission will feature enhanced capabilities that include on-orbit repair, augmentation, assembly, detailed inspection, and relocation of client satellites. Northrop Grumman’s vision is to establish a fleet of commercial servicing vehicles in GEO that can address multiple servicing needs. Northrop Grumman continues to make deep investments in on-orbit servicing and is working closely with U.S. Government agencies to develop the next generation space logistics technologies. These technologies include robotics and high-power solar electric propulsion to enable future services building upon our keep-it-simple approach to satellite life extension. These future services are expected to include:

  • Propellant augmentation
  • Inspection and repair
  • Replacement or enhancement of parts and systems
  • Incorporation of auxiliary propulsion, navigation, power, payloads and other functions to enhance the performance or extend the satellite’s life, or even change the satellite’s mission
  • On-orbit robotic assembly of space structures

Students on this team will learn more about on-orbit servicing of satellites and ideate concepts for service capabilities, designing and building the most promising idea.

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