DARPA, Northrop Subsidiary Form Robotic Satellite Servicing Mission Partnership

Jeff Brody

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has selected a Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) subsidiary to be DARPA's commercial partner on a mission to demonstrate systems to assemble, update, repair, inspect and relocate customer satellites in orbit.

SpaceLogistics will provide a mission robotic vehicle bus while the agency will contribute a robotic payload technology from the Naval Research Laboratory to the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program under a public-private partnership agreement, Northrop said Wednesday.

DARPA seeks to incorporate the NRL-developed payload — which features a pair of manipulator arms sensors and tools — into SpaceLogistics' Mission Robotic Vehicle.

Northrop noted it will lead efforts to design, integrate, test systems as well as manage the launch and mission under the RSGS initiative.

The company added it aims to create services to help extend the life of mission technology such as pods and install modernization platforms on existing satellites for government and commercial customers with the use of MRV spacecraft.

MRV will be built upon the Mission Extension Vehicle, which the company launched last year and docked with an Intelsat-built satellite last mont while in geosynchronous orbit.

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