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RSat-P (Repair Satellite-Prototype) is a low cost 3U CubeSat built by the US Naval Academy Satellite Lab to demostrate capabilities for in-orbit repair systems.

RSat is part of a technology demonstration mission to provide an in-orbit mobile platform to survey and possibly repair a much larger, conventional spacecraft. This component of the system comprises a 3U CubeSat with two 60 cm, 7 degree-of-freedom robotic arms fitted with claws and is intended to demonstrate diagnostic and repair capabilities by validating five robotic functions in orbit.

The first RSat launch (targeted for early 2017) is a project demonstrator that will prove RSat's on-orbit suitability, capability, and accuracy. RSat will conduct on-orbit performance assessments by moving its appendages through a test pattern or patterns intended to simulate simple diagnostic or repair tasks. RSat Spacecraft Systems RSat-P will be launched into low earth orbit, making the low-cost satellite bus a viable option. The low-cost bus consists of a power supply system developed in-house, two commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) amateur data radios, three COTS TTL serial cameras, and four Arduino microprocessors.

There are four primary flight demonstrations:

  • Navigate to Coordinate: to demonstrate that each of the arms is capable of navigating to a precise location, which will indicate that the spacecraft is capable of flexible orbital operations.
  • Handshake: to demonstrate that RSat is capable of operating the arms in proximity to each other. This is a key requirement in any potential imaging/servicing missions.
  • Imaging: to establish RSat's ability to take pictures of other spacecraft. RSat's arms will move to a variety of positions around the spacecraft and image all six faces.
  • Manipulation: to simulates the use of the manipulators to interact with another spacecraft. (A) Arm 1 will pick up a demonstration object from one of the ends of the spacecraft, and move it to within camera range. (B) Arm 2 will then take control of the object. This validates the manipulator design, and demonstrates the precision of the arm.
Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: US Naval Academy Satellite Lab
Contractors: US Naval Academy Satellite Lab
Configuration: CubeSat (3U)
Propulsion: None
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
RSat-P - 2017 OnS LC-1 Electron with ANDESITE, CeREs, CHOMPTT, Da Vinci, ISX, NMTSat, Shields 1, STF 1, CubeSail 1, CubeSail 2, GeoStare, TOMSat Eagle Scout, TOMSat R3, SHFT 1