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In-orbit services

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Space and Planetary Science' started by amusicsite, 16 Jun 2018.

  1. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    http://spacenews.com/in-orbit-services-poised-to-become-big-business/

    This seems like a very good idea. If a satellite fails in space then it's likely the main bulk of the unit is probably fine. If you could replace a battery, top up the fuel, replace a motherboard or a few solar panels. Then you could potentially extend the life of the unit with only a minimum payload from earth. At the moment, like with rockets before SpaceX made them reusable, when a satellite fails it is destroyed. Which is a bit like pulling down a building when the first owner moves out.

    These floating bits of metal in orbit are space real estate. If what's inside fails then why not let a new person make use of the space. Top up the fuel so it can move about for longer, replace any sub-par solar units with new modern ones, swap out the electronics with new parts and replace then batteries with new longer life units. Potentially you could have a new working system up and running for a fraction of the cost.
     
    Yellow Fang likes this.
  2. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    These two companies are already well on their way to trying it.

    http://www.northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/SpaceLogistics/Pages/default.aspx

    https://www.sslmda.com/
     
  3. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
  4. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Upping the game NASA has commissioned a test of a 3D manufacturing in space test.

    https://spacenews.com/made-in-space-archinaut-one-demonstration/

    The Made In Space companies idea is to set up manufacturing plants where you send up the raw materials and it will make the parts and assemble it in space.

    As far as I can tell, the NASA mission will use a small device from them to manufacture the beams a satellite needs and assemble the solar arrays. Where I guess the concept is the device and raw materials are smaller or easier to launch than a large unfolding beam system.

    http://www.projectarchinaut.com/

    I really like the idea. If you could make shells and solar panels in space then it could drastically reduce the payload of the guts of satellites launched.
     
  5. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    https://phys.org/news/2019-10-life-geosynchronous-satellites.html

    We have or first Mission Extension Vehicle. MEV-1 launched recently and after a gradual orbital increase will dock with a communication satellite that has run out of fuel. Once docked it will lift the satellite to a higher orbit and keep it in position for another 5 years before sending it off into a graveyard orbit. It has more fuel than needed for this mission and at lest a 15 year supply of fuel, so has the option then to move on to another satellite and perform the same task. Being mainly just full of fuel it's cheaper than send up a whole new communication satellite and is like a tug boat that can just keep an existing one in position.

    Future missions aim to refuel satellites and I'm sure future satellites will have easier ways to refuel themselves. With SpaceX looking into refilling massive Mars bound starship crafts you could imagining soon their could be a space filling station, little crafts ducking between that and satellites that need refuelling. With the filling station being topped up when ruining low. After all, it's much more efficient to keep something in space than send a replacement and helps keep the amount of space junk to a minimum.