Satellite Servicing

SGT is leading the team of developers in advanced robotic technologies for NASA GSFC’s Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) towards enabling the routine on-orbit servicing of satellites. SSCO’s goal is to position the US as be a global leader of in-space repair, maintenance, and satellite disposal and facilitate a future US industry for the servicing of satellites. The SSCO advanced and integrated technologies are focused in 5 key areas that include (1) autonomous rendezvous and proximity operations systems, (2) dexterous robots, (3) high-speed, fault tolerant computing, (4) advanced robotic tools, and (5) non-cooperative propellant transfer. Current SSCO projects developing these technologies include:

The RAVEN project designing, building, and testing a real-time, autonomous vision experiment for relative navigation. This technology will be demonstrated on the ISS with a planned flight in 2015.

The Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM-3) project will demonstrate remote controlled robots performing servicing and refueling in orbit via ground command.

Robotic Refueling Mission
Robotic Refueling Mission Tool. Credit – NASA

The RESTORE project focuses on development of robotic arms and dexterous end-effector tool technology for a candidate mission. These technologies will enable client satellite capture and maneuvers to prepare and execute spacecraft refueling or other potential repair needs.

The Hosted Payloads and Advanced Concepts project is designing and developing future joint missions with the Human Exploration/Operations and Science Mission Directorates at NASA.

The development of new and improved Vision Navigation Sensor technology that will mitigate existing design flaws and significantly improve vision detector system range performance and enable a host of additional autonomous and tele-operated on-orbit robotic maneuvers.

Satellite servicing capabilities stretch from on-orbit spacecraft refueling and repair, to the assembly of large structures in orbit, to modular designs that allow for spacecraft upgrade ability. These are capabilities that offer mission operators options for extended mission operations, reconfiguration, and recovery.