The Canadian firm MDA Corp has announced its resuscitated in orbit servicing and repair firm called SIS (Space Infrastructure Servcies) in which it has a minority stake. The firm plans to use a servicing satellite design which it has ordered from SSL (Space Systems Loral) to offer these services, with the satellite operator SES being the lead commercial customer.
To the chagrin of competitor Orbital ATK which has its own Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) orbit raising tug, the servicing spacecraft’s design is based on the DARPA-funded Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) spacecraft design which has two robotic arms and refuelling technology.
Space News reports that, in effect, the development and construction of lead items is being part funded by DARPA in return for cheaper SIS servicing for government missions. Orbital ATK is already suing DARPA over an initial contract it made with SSL for the construction of lead items for the SIS spacecraft.
The order for the RSGS servicing spacecraft was then ordered in June from SIS. The contract which was placed with MDA subsidiary SSL (Space Systems/Loral).is valued at US$228 million placed.