DARPA Taps 8 Firms for GEO Satellite Servicing Program’s Second Phase; David Barnhart Comments

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spaceThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded prime contracts to eight companies for phase two of the agency’s Phoenix program, through which DARPA aims to develop robotics systems to service geosynchronous Earth orbit satellites.

DARPA said Wednesday it has tapped BusekEnergidHoneybee RoboticsMacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates‘ Canada and U.S. branches, NovaWurksOceaneering and Space Systems/Loral for the program’s second phase.

Phase two will consist of research and development work in GEO space robotic arms for on-orbit mission needs, payload-flexible satlets and a payload orbital delivery system for space deliveries to GEO.

“Individually or together, these technologies could help enable not just Phoenix’s original concept of re-use, but a broad class of other robotically enabled missions at GEO as well,” said David Barnhart, DARPA program manager.

DARPA wants the satlets to weigh roughly 15 pounds and contain power supplies, movement controls and sensors.

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