Space community invited to submit ideas to enable a flight demonstration in the next five years and an innovative public-private partnership to jumpstart a new industry
An increasing number of expensive, mission-critical satellites are launched every year into geostationary Earth orbit (GEO), approximately 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth. Unlike objects in low Earth orbit (LEO), such as the Hubble Space Telescope, satellites in GEO are essentially unreachable with current technology. As a result, these satellites are designed to operate without any upgrades or repairs for their entire lifespan-a methodology that demands increased size, complexity and cost. The ability to safely and cooperatively interact with satellites in GEO would immediately revolutionize military and commercial space operations alike, lowering satellite construction and deployment costs and improving satellite lifespan, resilience and reliability.
To expedite these potential benefits,
"We're asking the space community to think hard about how they want the future of space operations to look and how GEO robotics could help," said
1. Technical characteristics for a robotic servicer that would integrate
* Cooperative inspection of functional spacecraft that may have experienced anomalies while operating in GEO
* Cooperative correction of mechanical problems, such as solar array and antenna deployment malfunctions
* Cooperative assistance with orbit change maneuvers, including relocation or transfer to disposal orbit
2. Business arrangements and practices that would best facilitate a commercial spacecraft servicing enterprise that is long-lived and self-sustaining, and would achieve the greatest value for U.S. national and economic security.
"Creating a public-private partnership is an innovative way to ensure that GEO robotic servicing gets community buy-in to succeed long term," Roesler said. Moreover, he said, a public-private partnership would support the
* Spacecraft development, integration, testing and on-orbit operations
* On-orbit servicing technology development and/or business case analysis
* Robotics technologies, including hardware (sensors, actuators, etc.) and software (control, teleoperations, etc.)
* Satellite fleet ownership, operation and management
Responses are due
Hispanic #1 Breaking News for Entrepreneurs, Professionals and Small Business Owners - HispanicBusiness.com
OCTOBER 31, 2014
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