DARPA’s SUMO – the future of anti-satellite weapons

by | Jan 16, 2008 | Satellites | 0 comments

January 2007 saw the Chinese shoot down one of their own satellites at an altitude of about 800km (496miles) resulting in an international outcry and a lot of debris

We hear that the Russians and the Americans both tested ASAT missiles in the 1980s but knocked out satellites at much lower altitudes avoiding the space debris problem China has now given the world

So have the Great Powers, in their inifinite wisdom, abandoned ASAT technology? No, silly!

In my humble opinion this US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency programme called Spacecraft for the Universal Modification of Orbits (SUMO) is exactly that

As if the name is not enough, its website blurb says, “SUMO can remove and install Orbital Replacement Units (ORUs) and replenish propellant and pressurant. For spacecraft with compatible interfaces, SUMO can perform station-keeping and attitude control and modify the spacecraft’s orbit [emphasis added].”

But somehow I can imagine that this SUMO spacecraft could “modify” an orbit even if the target satellite does not have a “compatible interface”

Here you can watch a video of it doing its thing


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