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Pamela Melroy: DARPA Builds Robotic Arm for Geosynchronous Earth Orbit-Based Transportation Hub

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DARPAA Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency official has discussed the Phoenix project that aims to create a robotic arm that could be used for the future space transportation hub in geosynchronous Earth orbit, DoD News reported Monday.

Pamela Melroy, deputy director of the tactical technology office at DARPA, said such a robotic system could be used to refuel, repair and construct spacecraft at GEO, Cheryl Pellerin writes.

Pellerin reports GEO is a stable space environment that is approximately 36,000 kilometers away from Earth but has high levels of radiation that could be harmful to astronauts to carry out missions.

“We think this is a critical capability to building a transportation hub that allows transportation to and from Earth’s surface, from low Earth orbit to GEO, and even beyond Earth orbit,” Melroy said at DARPA’s three-day Wait, What? technology forum in St. Louis.

The former astronaut said the robotic arm has compliance and reflex controls intended to reduce the risk of collision-related space debris and is similar to the one used to construct the International Space Station, according to the report.

Other topics discussed at the event include prosthetic hands and other advances in the field of neuroscience, artificial intelligence systems and research into extraterrestrial life.

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