Why are they ordering them to stop? Because, according to National Space Policy guidelines, DARPA might be conducting operations that are potentially discouraging similar research in the private sector – in particular, Orbital ATK’s Mission Extension Vehicle.
“Refrain from conducting United States Government space activities that preclude, discourage, or compete with U.S. commercial space activities.”
– National Space Policy guidelines
Photo Credit: DARPA
For now, both DARPA and Orbital ATK will continue moving forward in the construction of space robots for the in-space satellite servicing sector. Although the Republican congressmen might disagree, I find this to be healthy competition.
DARPA may or may not be violating National Space Policy guidelines, but if the congressmen’s letter is an indicator of something, it’s that the future of politics will most assuredly enter the realm of space. Space-based politics will become a growing reality for us as we continue moving forward into the unknown void of our universe. Whether or not that stifles space-based innovation is yet to be seen, but one can be certain that we haven’t seen the end of this conflict just yet. For now, we can only watch and hope for the best.