DARPA Program Mired In Controversy As Orbital ATK Files Suit
WASHINGTON: A robot satellite repair system under development by DARPA has drawn the baleful glances of half-a-dozen congressmen and a lawsuit to block it by aerospace company Orbital ATK.
The technology, known as Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites, would offer enormous benefits to both the National Reconnaissance Office, operator of our spy satellites, as well as the international commercial satellite companies such as Intelsat. Why? Because using RSGS, satellites in geosynchronous orbit — 22,000 miles up — could be checked for problems, repaired and even get new sensors installed. Today, the school bus-sized spy satellites built and run by the NRO and the commercial satellites have to be built to withstand the rigors of space. If something goes wrong, it can be very difficult to tell the cause, let alone fix it.