The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) is looking to test technology that would be used for fixing satellites while they are in orbit.
The target satellites are those that orbit about 22,000 miles above the Earth, an area referred to as geostationary orbit, according to Space.com. This area is too far away for space agencies to have traditional satellite servicing missions, and the satellites in the area need to be taken out at the end of their lifespan so new missions can begin.
Space agencies typically use these satellites for communication and surveillance purposes since the length of their orbit is about the same as Earth's day, thus letting the devices look at the same spot on Earth 24/7.
DARPA hopes to form a type of public-private partnership for the project that will be for both commercial and military owners with satellites in space, Space.com reported. The partnership provides the chance for these satellite owners to save money because they wouldn't have to launch new satellites as much as they would otherwise.
"The ability to safely and cooperatively interact with satellites in GEO [geostationary orbit] would immediately revolutionize military and commercial space operations alike, lowering satellite construction and deployment costs and improving satellite lifespan, resilience and reliability," DARPA officials said.
The agency has also requested for information on how to obtain the right technology and security for the project, as well as for information on the possible use of a "robotic servicer" to fix technical and operational issues and send the details back to Earth, Space.com reported. One of the hopes for the robots is that they will be able to move satellites into other orbits.
The due date for the responses to the information requests is Nov. 3rd. The goal for DARPA is to begin testing the new satellite service in the next five years.