Sanders and Space Electronics-led Team Study Satellite Servicing in Space
NASHUA, NH, 02-NOV-00 -- Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company, has received a 14-month, $6 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to conduct an Advanced Technology Demonstration for a new Space Operations Architecture called Orbital Express. DARPA's Orbital Express program is designed to provide a cost-effective, autonomous capability for on-orbit pre-planned electronics and hardware upgrades, satellite refueling and reconfiguration of spacecraft components to support a broad range of future U.S. national security, civil and commercial space programs.
The effort will be led by an integrated team between Sanders and Lockheed Martin Space Electronics & Communications, Manassas, Va. Other team members include Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, Colo., Space Systems/Loral, Palo Alto, Calif., Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., Cambridge, Mass., and Moog, East Aurora, N.Y.
During Phase I, the concept definition phase, the team will analyze and identify the cost effectiveness of satellite servicing under the DARPA proposal for a number of military and commercial missions, and base its analysis on simple, standard interfaces and inexpensive launch approaches. Key components of the Orbital Express architecture include a space-based robot vehicle called Autonomous Space Transfer and Robotic Orbiter (ASTRO). The robot will service satellites within a specified range of orbital inclinations and altitudes. Another key component will be the NEXTSat which is representative of a next-generation class of satellites designed to be serviced by the ASTRO.
During Phase II, a preliminary design will be developed for a demonstration system to show how the ASTRO will provide service to the NEXTSat. The winner of the demonstration system design should be announced in 2002 and the demonstration spacecraft is scheduled to be launched in 2004. The Sanders team is one of three competing to win the Advanced Technology Demonstration.
Sanders is an operating company of the Lockheed Martin Corporation, and a major producer of aircraft self-protection systems and tactical surveillance and intelligence systems for all branches of the armed forces. Other major business areas include microwave, mission and space electronics; infrared imaging; and automated mission planning systems.
Lockheed Martin Space Electronics & Communications, Manassas, Va., is a premier systems integrator, providing advanced electronic systems, information systems, and technology products and services to U.S. defense and federal civilian agencies as well as commercial and international customers.