WASHINGTON, May 5 (UPI) — NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency say they are seeking proposals for small satellite experiments aboard the International Space Station.
The federal agencies said their goal is to better utilize the station as a test bed for advanced space technologies.
Officials said the effort involves “Synchronized Position, Hold, Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellites” — bowling ball-sized spherical satellites used inside the station to test maneuvers for spacecraft performing autonomous rendezvous and docking.
“The three satellites fly in formation inside the station’s cabin,” NASA explained. “Each is self-contained with power, propulsion, computing and navigation equipment. The test results are used to support satellite servicing, vehicle assembly and spacecraft that fly in formation.”
Scientists said the satellite program, which started in 2006, provides opportunities to test a wide range of hardware and software at an affordable cost.
“The ability to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through meaningful space experimentation is really at the heart of this new program,” said DARPA Program Manager Paul Eremenko.
More information about the satellite program is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/science/experiments/SPHERES.html and at http://www.darpa.mil/tto/programs/inspire.
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