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The U.S. Department of Defense's most advanced research and development arm is calling upon engineers and scientists to help develop robots capable of remotely repairing satellites in space.
According to the The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Defense, the organization hopes to develop and launch the sophisticated space bots into orbit within the next five years.
DARPA - Satellites - Government - Industry - US
Currently, says DARPA, about 400 satellites owned by the government and private industry in the U.S. are orbiting Earth with some more than 20,000 miles away making it service and maintenance all but impossible.
'With no prospects for assistance once in orbit, satellites destined for [geosynchronous equatorial orbit] today are loaded with backup systems and as much fuel as can be accommodated, adding to their complexity, weight and cost,' reads a release from DARPA.
Help - Service - Call
'But what if help was just a service call away?'
When satellites encounter even minor problems -- ones that would constitute relatively easy fixes if the devices were accessible to engineers -- they are rendered obsolete.
Help - DARPA - Robotic - Servicing - Geosynchronous
With the help of what DARPA is calling the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites, that may no longer be the case.
While the exact specifications and functionality of the robotic space repairmen are unclear, DARPA's vision for the machine, in its nascent form, call for a craft that is reusable and would be versatile enough to carry out an array of different space missions....
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