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Satnews Daily
March 14th, 2013

ViviSat + ATK + U.S. Space... Showing Off... (Satellite Rescue)

[SatNews] ViviSat has opened the ATK Robotic Rendezvous and Proximity (RPO) testing facility to...

...ViviSat clients at the headquarters of ATK's Space Systems Division in Beltsville, Maryland. Tours of the facility for ViviSat clients will start during the upcoming Satellite 2013 Conference on March 18-21, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The recently opened RPO facility allows ViviSat and one of its parent companies, ATK (NYSE: ATK), to demonstrate and verify critical enabling technologies for today's more complicated space missions. The lab uses state-of-the-art robotic and air-bearing testbeds to simulate satellite motion and facilitate hardware and software development and validation.

The development of technology for controlled approach and docking between spacecraft supports ViviSat's Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV). The MEV, manufactured by ATK, is designed to dock with the orbiting satellite and serve as the propulsion and attitude control systems. This enables mission extension for satellites which have run out of maneuvering fuel yet still have healthy payload and power systems. ATK's Space Systems Division completed two prototype docking mechanisms that will reinforce the MEV's ongoing development. These prototypes demonstrate servicing capabilities to potential clients and will be used to validate contact dynamics and docking performance in the ATK RPO lab. ATK also recently completed initial testing of closed loop proximity operations, demonstrating the ability to track a simulated host satellite using a prototype visual sensor suite.

"The ATK Robotic RPO Lab demonstrates a substantial investment in retiring risk for ViviSat and its clients. The capability currently demonstrated is the first step in our plans to perform full six degree of freedom docking validation and qualification," said Tom Wilson, vice president and general manager of ATK Space Systems Division.

"We demonstrated this closed loop capability to several clients and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. They see these developments as further validation that ViviSat is making key qualification milestones and demonstrating real capabilities to provide in-orbit servicing," said Bryan McGuirk, Chief Operating Officer of ViviSat.

Satellite 2013 attendees can learn more about ViviSat at the ATK exhibit booth (#9039) inside the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Members of the ViviSat team will be available to share information, introduce an animated video of ViviSat's Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) and lead tours for the RPO facility in nearby Beltsville, Maryland.