The US military will launch a robot to one of their satellites

The American Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that in 2025 it planned to conduct a mission to service one of the military satellites that were in orbit with a height of more than 35 thousand km. It will be equipped with a robotic arm.

A robotic satellite that is being developed by the US military. Source:

Robot will serve military satellites

Already in 2025, a space robot created to service spacecraft should go towards one of the American military satellites, which is in orbit at a height of 35.4 thousand km. It should dock with it and place a new optical sensor on its body.

This spacecraft will be assisted by a robotic arm, developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Naval Research Laboratory, as well as a special adapter and optical sensor developed by Katalyst Space Technologies.

Although the project looks simple enough, in reality it will take a lot of effort to implement it. A lot of public and private organizations are involved in the project. The main one is the Defense Innovation Unit of the U.S. Department of Defense. It is this organization that has been most involved in military space lately.

Who develops the spacecraft

Preparations for the implementation of the project began back in 2022. At that time, the Defense Innovation Unit identified Motiv Space Systems from Pasadena, California, as the main contractor for the creation of satellite maintenance equipment. The program was called “Modularity for Space Systems”. In January 2024, Katalyst Space joined the development.

At the same time, the spacecraft, called Mission Robotics Vehicle (MRV), will be created by a completely different company — SpaceLogistics, which is a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman. As for Motiv Space, it is known precisely as a developer of robots and it will focus on this part of the project.

As for Katalyst Space, its main task will be to develop an optical sensor that will allow the spacecraft to navigate reliably in space. In addition, this company will create an adapter that will allow the spacecraft to be attached to both the carrier and the target satellite.

As for the role of the Naval Research Laboratory, they have to put all these disparate components together and check how much the robot will be able to place the new equipment they are developing on the satellite. 

This whole project looks extremely huge, both technologically and organizationally. After all, we are talking about the fact that a fully commercial spacecraft will carry out complex operations with a multi-ton military satellite that is located far from Earth. 

However, the US military believes that this is what the future of space defense looks like, both in terms of the ability to improve spacecraft directly in orbit, and in terms of attracting commercial companies to this process.

According to

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