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NASA Launches Nat’l Initiative to Promote On-Orbit Satellite Servicing

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NASA has launched a national initiative focused on establishing partnerships between government, industry and academia to conduct satellite servicing and spacecraft repair activities in orbit, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.

The  agency is currently identifying funding allocations for the On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing effort which will include capability assessments to determine technology gaps.

NASA is slated to launch the Maxar Technologies-built OSAM-1 spacecraft to refuel the Landsat 7 satellite in 2024.

Deborah Tomek, senior adviser for OSAM at NASA, said a prior industry event that the agency's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate is looking into using OSAM technologies for Artemis deep-space missions.

“It’s going to be really important to work together collaboratively, because we want to move forward with these OSAM technologies and advance them collectively as a suite of capabilities,” she noted.

Previously, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched its Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites initiative aimed at using a Northrop Grumman-built satellite servicing platform.

NASA partnered with Made in Space to begin the construction of OSAM-2, which is intended to build a solar array in orbit.