Hosted payload broker Spaceflight Inc. took a step toward offering rides on its own satellite platform, announcing that the company’s SHERPA space tug concept will be ready to host instruments by 2015.
The planned SHERPA spacecraft features a ring structure, a propulsion system and a power supply that can feed at least 50 watts of power to the hosted payloads, Spaceflight said in an Aug. 5 press release. The company is planning three variants of the spacecraft, which will double as an in-space maneuvering tug to reposition small spacecraft. The smallest will be able to tug satellites weighing up to 1.5 tons, the company said.
“We are targeting a first flight in late 2015 to a sun synchronous orbit, and are currently manifesting additional [sun synchronous] flight opportunities in 2016 and 2017,” Jason Andrews, chief executive of Spaceflight, said in the press release.