Universal Gripper Anchor

The Universal Gripper Anchor (UGA), can grasp variety of targets on the satellite to be serviced, with the capability to create a stable, secure platform for nanosatellite “satlet” modules. Satlets may provide functions such as power, communications, or controls.


Developed for DARPA


The UGA provides several electromechanical mounts for a variety of modular satlets to dock and communicate. The second subsystem, the Satlet Grasper Tool (SGT), is a new end effector for securing and manipulating  satlets using the servicing satellite’s dexterous robotic arms. The SGT incorporates a patent-pending omnidirectional electromechanical mounting system that provides multiple channels for the satlets to transmit data and power. This SGT interface will be common to all satlet modules. 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotic Servicing of Geosynchronous Satellites (RSGS) program aims to demonstrate the feasibility of servicing satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), with the goal of reducing costs and increasing responsiveness. DARPA intends to create dexterous manipulation technology needed for a servicing satellite to rendezvous and manipulate a cooperative spacecraft. Operations could include high-resolution inspection, anomaly correction, cooperative relocation, or installation of technology upgrades.

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Describes the project, has images, and link to a contact form.


The goal of the DARPA Phoenix project is to develop and demonstrate technologies to cooperatively harvest and reuse valuable components from retired, non-working satellites in GEO and demonstrate the ability to create new space systems at greatly reduced cost. Describes the UGA project.

David Barnhart, Dr. Brook Sullivan, Roger Hunter, et al. - 2013




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