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IN-SPACE SATELLITE SERVICING CAPABILITY– REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is continually looking for opportunities to help advance the development of U.S. commercial space products and services. With the recent increase of U.S. private-sector companies interested in space operations, NASA is seeking input on a potential public-private partnership with U.S. industry for the development and demonstration of in-space satellite servicing technologies and capabilities.
NASA has been developing the technologies to facilitate satellite servicing for over 40 years. Eleven repair missions have been conducted in low Earth orbit (LEO) to date, with each mission utilizing the unique advantages and competencies offered by the space shuttle transportation system and the astronaut corps. Continuing satellite servicing operations for LEO and geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) assets requires new technologies and the use of autonomous and robotic methods, as human satellite servicing operations pose undesirable risks and costs. The commercial satellite industry has proven the capability to finance, design, develop, integrate, operate and own complex satellite systems. NASA is aware that there is industry interest in providing satellite servicing as a commercial service.
In keeping with NASA’s 2018 Presidential Budget Request (PBR) plan, NASA is proposing to restructure current satellite servicing project activities to focus on maturing satellite servicing technologies in support of the above mentioned functions. NASA is willing to provide technical expertise and facilities via a public-private partnership (such as an Announcement of Collaborative Opportunities or a Tipping Point solicitation, reference attachment A) to enable an industry satellite servicing capability.
The specific objective of this RFI is to solicit information that will assist NASA in planning and prioritizing current and future investments in satellite servicing technologies. With this RFI, NASA is requesting brief descriptions for the development of an in-space satellite servicing capability and conducting satellite servicing demonstrations through an appropriate government-industry partnership.
Response Date: Aug. 24, 2017