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NRL Completes Component-Level Tests on Robotic Servicing Payload for GEO Satellites

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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Naval Center for Space Technology has completed component-level tests on a robotic servicing payload designed to inspect and service commercial and government satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites payload has two robotic arms outfitted with control electronics, multiple robotic tools, cameras and lighting and a robotic tool changer to perform diagnostics, repairs and upgrades to GEO satellites, NRL reported Wednesday.

During the series of tests, NRL engineers determined the performance of the first assembled arm when subjected to simulated extreme temperature and vacuum of space.

The robotic arm system also underwent electromagnetic interference chamber testing.

The second arm is currently going through motion performance testing and is set to complete environmental testing in the fall. 

DARPA expects to launch the payload to GEO onboard a Northrop Grumman mission robotic vehicle bus for a demonstration mission in 2024.