OSAM, a new initiative to promote satellite servicing among U.S. government agencies launched

The new “national initiative” seeks to promote the development of satellite servicing and in-space assembly technologies among U.S. government agencies which have differing views on the value of such capabilities.

OSAM, a new initiative to promote satellite servicing among U.S. government agencies launched
OSAM, a new initiative to promote satellite servicing among U.S. government agencies launched

OSAM, a new initiative to promote satellite servicing among U.S. government agencies launched

The On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly and Manufacturing (OSAM) National Initiative is meant to exchange information and establish partnerships among government agencies, and with industry and academia, on the utilization of such technologies to repair existing satellites and make new capabilities in space.

The new “national initiative” seeks to promote the development of satellite servicing and in-space assembly technologies among U.S. government agencies which have differing views on the value of such capabilities.

SpaceNews quoted Deborah Tomek, NASA senior advisor for OSAM and one of the leads of the new initiative as saying that it’s going to be really important to work together collaboratively because they want to move forward with these OSAM technologies and advance them collectively as a suite of capabilities.

She added that the OSAM National Initiative has several priorities. That includes facilitating relationships among the varied organizations involved within the field, also determining where government agencies should fund OSAM technologies versus areas where companies are making their own investments.

A near-term effort is a series of capability assessments which will help identify any gaps in technology developments. She mentioned that once they understand and have a broader picture of that, then they can look at how best to influence and fund those investments.

NASA has been the biggest advocate for OSAM technologies among U.S. government agencies. In addition to a series of robotic refueling experiments on the International space platform, it’s funding a robotic satellite servicing mission called OSAM-1 and previously referred to as Restore-L. scheduled for launch in 2024 and employing a commercial satellite bus provided by Maxar, OSAM-1 will rendezvous with the Landsat 7 spacecraft and refuel it, then conduct a series of demonstrations of in-space robotic assembly of an antenna and a boom. OSAM-2, formerly referred to as Archinaut 1, is a spacecraft under development by Made in Space to create and deploy a solar battery in space.

DARPA is additionally supporting OSAM technology development with its Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program. Like OSAM-1, it’ll demonstrate satellite servicing employing a government-developed servicing payload installed on a billboard satellite bus, in this case one provided by Northrop Grumman.