The on-orbit assembly and servicing industry is close to becoming operational. With several organizations preparing for the first missions occurring in the early 2020s, satellite servicing incorporates services such as life extension, salvage, robotics, de-orbiting and relocation services. Is this a sustainable business? Have reliable standards been developed to assist in the advancement of these crucial technologies?
Dr. Gordon Roesler recently completed a 4-year term as a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where he led the effort to provide robotic servicing to satellites already in orbit. This was Roesler’s second term as a Program Manager with DARPA. During his previous term, 2002-2006, he originated the Spacecraft for the Universal Modification of Orbits (SUMO) and Front-End Robotics Enabling Near-term Demonstration (FREND) programs. These programs and the subsequent Phoenix program provided the technical basis for the Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program, which Roesler initiated and led, and which will launch to space in 2021. Other professional assignments have included the U.S. Department of Energy, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, the University of Southern California, and the University of New South Wales. Roesler’s research project and accomplishments other than space systems have included robotic naval vehicles, sensor systems, underwater acoustics, and electric power generation, storage and control. He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. With Robots in Space LLC, Roesler intends to continue in an advocacy role for technologies and partnerships that promise to expand the space economy and contribute to the security of U.S. space assets.