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The race for space robots: public vs private sector

A DARPA project to develop a robot for satellite servicing in space has come under fire over claims that it violates national space policy guidelines that discourage public competition with commercial space activities. Lawmakers in the US have asked DARPA to halt the programme arguing that it spoils the business case for commercial satellite servicing offerings from companies including Orbital ATK. Claire Apthorp looks at DARPA’s programme, and ask whether US space policy guidelines are holding back innovation instead of encouraging public-private sector cooperation.

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