Engineers are preparing to launch a robotic service vehicle RSGS

(ORDO NEWS) — U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) engineers recently completed testing of robotic payload components for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Geosynchronous Satellite Robotic Service (RSGS) program.

After entering orbit, the RSGS robotic service vehicle will serve satellites in geosynchronous near-Earth orbit.

The RSGS program is a partnership between DARPA and a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman. NRL is developing robotic service payloads.

The RSGS payload includes avionics components, robotic control algorithms, a variety of highly reliable electronic designs, and flight software. NRL also purchased two robotic arms, outfitting them with control electronics, cameras and lights.

NRL also developed a robotic acquisition tool for customer satellites and acquired a resupply element acquisition tool that is compliant with the DARPA design standard for orbital payload delivery.

Robotic movements require special planning to ensure the safe operation of spacecraft. NRL has developed an Integrated Robotic Workstation (IRW) to achieve this goal.

IRW supports mission planning as well as manages all robotic payload activities and monitors payload telemetry during operations.

The RSGS team has completed environmental testing of the first of two flight robotic arm systems. During testing, the robotic arm system demonstrated operability at temperatures corresponding to real conditions in orbit.

The second system will complete environmental testing this fall. Robotic performance testing to demonstrate and validate the operation of robotic algorithms is conducted at the Robotics Test Bench (RTB) at the NRL Space Robotics Laboratory.

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