The need to use these spacecraft also as bodyguards is the strongest reason to rescind the Senate's proposed budget cut for launching our first robotic servicing spacecraft. Any delay in its launch would greatly increase the chance of a space Pearl Harbor.
A startup company planning to develop orbital propellant depots to assist satellite servicing ventures has raised an initial round of funding to support a first launch as soon as next year.
Intelsat-901, a 17-year-old communications satellite running low on propellant, is awaiting a first-of-its-kind service call from a robotic spacecraft carrying a fresh tank of fuel.
SSL is investing in on-orbit servicing because “mission extension is a game changer,” said Michael Gabor, advanced programs director for SSL Government Systems.
Orbital ATK subsidiary SpaceLogistics plans to offer customers a wide range of products and services, beginning with its Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) and progressing to in-orbit spacecraft assembly, repair and cis-lunar transportation.
Satellite owners, satellite manufacturers, NASA and DARPA are planning a series of demonstrations to prove spacecraft can be repaired or refueled in orbit without the type of ambitious and expensive effort NASA devoted to servicing the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Mission Extension Vehicle built by Orbital ATK on behalf of subsidiary SpaceLogistics, will the first of several such robotic craft that are poised to compete for a share of about $3 billion worth of in-orbit services that satellite operators and government agencies are projected to buy over the coming decade.
In the face of emerging novel threats and vulnerabilities, whether the self-defense doctrine allows us to counter the threat before the attack occurs can make the difference between peace and war.
DARPA working group begins addressing concerns related to proximity operations and satellite servicing
A major challenge facing companies planning to perform on-orbit servicing will be ensuring satellite operators do not view their activities as potential threats.
Orbital ATK announced March 13 it is developing a new version of a satellite life extension vehicle intended to provide more flexibility to customers while also moving the company closer to more advanced in-space servicing.
Effective Space Solutions, a company developing spacecraft that can extend the lives of telecommunications satellites, has arranged to launch its first two spacecraft on a Russian Proton rocket in 2020.
A federal judge denied a motion by Orbital ATK to dismiss a lawsuit filed last year by Space Systems Loral seeking damages for alleged unauthorized access to information about its satellite servicing technologies.
A group of astronomers and engineers is seeking to convince NASA to study in-space servicing and assembly of future space telescopes, including the role the proposed Deep Space Gateway could play to support it.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Dec. 5 okayed the first part of a satellite-servicing mission Orbital ATK’s Space Logistic subsidiary has with Intelsat, saying the servicing vehicle can execute “rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking with the Intelsat-901” satellite while in a graveyard orbit.
The forward-leaning technology arm of the U.S. Defense Department is betting that in just a few years, the business of sending robots to high orbit to repair and refresh satellites will be so successful that the government and the industry should now begin to discuss rules and protocols.
An appropriations bill approved by a Senate committee July 27 would restore funding for several NASA Earth science missions slated for termination by the administration as well as a satellite servicing program.