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.
Mechanical Design (3 – 4 students)
Specific Skills: Innovative Design, Fast Prototyping
Likely Majors: MECHENG, ROB, SPACE
Embedded Systems (1 – 2 students)
Specific Skills: Integration circuitry, intermediate processing requirements, data storage
Likely Majors: CE , EE
Artificial Intelligence (1 – 2 students)
Specific Skills: Applied Machine learning skills / willing to learn
Likely Majors: EECS, ROB or skills/experience
Advanced Robotics (1 student)
Specific Skills: Robotic arm design skills and relevant experience
Likely Majors: ROB, MECHENG, SPACE
Dr. Anthony J. DeCicco
Sr. Systems Engineer
Dr. Anthony DeCicco works on transformative space technology programs within the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC). Anthony joined NGC after receiving his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland under the NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship. Anthony has experience in research-driven work environments working at MIT-Lincoln Labs and NASA on programs in additive manufacturing, composites, material survivability, and advanced propulsion technologies. At NGC, he is a Systems Engineer in the Future Technology Leaders program and works on human spaceflight systems. Anthony received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering in 2018 from the University of Maryland.
Anthony has mentored multiple MDP teams in the past.
NG Fellow/Engineering Systems Architect
Andrew Kwas graduated from the University of Michigan in 1980 with a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He has 41 years with TRW/NGC working in advanced projects specializing in on orbit space products, astrophysics projects and weapon system developments. In Mr. Kwas’ role as a NG Fellow specializing in space and advanced manufacturing supports NASA, AFRL, NRO, DARPA, SMDC, ORSO and the Navy in high tech programs. Mr. Kwas is on the Technical Advisory Board for Cornell, U Michigan, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and U New Mexico. He is considered one of the prominent additive manufacturing (AM) experts in the country and has produced numerous papers in AM, advanced satellite technology, unique logistics solutions, and miniaturization of components. Mr. Kwas is an appointed Research Scholar at the University of New Mexico.
Nilton Renno is a Professor in the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering department. His research interests include, aerosols and climate, astrobiology, instrument development, planetary science, systems engineering, and thermodynamics.
Course Substitutions: Honors, ChE Elective, CE MDE, EE MDE, ISD AUTO 503, MECHENG 490, MECHENG 590, ROB 590
Internship/Summer Opportunity: Depending on the Covid situation, internships may be available.
Citizenship Requirements: Student team members must have authorization to work in the United States without restriction in ITAR location.
IP/NDA: Student team members will sign IP/NDA documents that are unique to Northrop Grumman.