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House Lawmakers Ask DARPA to Review Robotic Satellite Repair Program

Three House lawmakers have called on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to postpone work on a robotic space repair initiative until DARPA completes a review that seeks to determine whether the program complies with the National Space Policy, Breaking Defense reported Wednesday.

Colin Clark writes the policy bars the government from developing or buying systems that compete with commercial platforms and that Orbital ATK said it believes its system competes with DARPA’s Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites program.

The RSGS program seeks to develop robotic tools designed to repair damaged space satellites.

Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma); Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee; and Barbara Comstock (R-Virginia), chair of the House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee on research and technology; called for the assessment of the RSGS initiative through a letter sent to DARPA Director Steven Walker Wednesday.

Orbital ATK’s Space Logistics subsidiary developed the Mission Extension Vehicle system that is scheduled for launch in late 2018 and in-orbit testing with an Intelsat-built satellite by early 2019, the report added.

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