Venture Aims To Prolong Life of Geo Satellites

by

ATK and U.S. Space have created a joint venture that aims to extend the lives of geostationary-orbiting satellites that have exhausted their station-keeping fuel but still have sufficient electrical power to continue operating, the companies announced Jan. 13.

Dubbed Vivisat, the joint venture would use its Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) to latch onto geostationary satellites to provide station-keeping propulsion, the companies said. The space tug also could be used to move satellites from one orbital slot to another and to salvage satellites stranded in the wrong orbit, the companies said.

U.S. Space, originally set up to deploy communications satellites for lease to U.S. government customers, would be responsible for marketing and operating the service. Rocket and satellite hardware builder ATK would serve as MEV prime contractor, with responsibility for building and launching the space tug.