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Satellite Rescue and Life Extension

Posted by: Musas1 - Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:44 am
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Satellite Rescue and Life Extension 
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Post Satellite Rescue and Life Extension   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:44 am
Hey guys!

wonder if i can get your insight on this.
What are the main issues that we need to address to enable us to come up with a technology that would extend the life of existing satellites...
is it the speed of the satellite, how we can access it to enable docking of a device etc?? can you think of other issues?


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Post Re: Satellite Rescue and Life Extension   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:59 am
Obsolesence is the big problem at the moment. By the time it needs to be refilled, it needs to be replaced.

The biggest customers would be military whose satellites manoeuvre quite a bit. If they were convinced refuelling was reliable and available then they might design new sats to move a whole lot more and refuel easily.

Its mostly a question of market.

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Post Re: Satellite Rescue and Life Extension   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:04 am
Thanks idiom for your reply, but my question was more into the challenges that the technology needs to work around in order to be able to extend the life of the satellite?


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Post Re: Satellite Rescue and Life Extension   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:23 am
Most of them have been demonstrated in the near term, either with Hubble or automated ISS re-supply missions.

The biggest thing shown there is that without humans the system has to be designed to be serviced. Very few satellites are. So a common international set of busses, tank types, connector types, etc would go a long way.

All type of fuel are problematic in zero g, but some more so than others.

Which leads into another murky field... if you are pumping hydrazine or something else unstable into a sat, and its intake port it contaminated or some such, how would you ever prove the destruction of both sats was their fault?

Fuel transfers would be a lot easier I think as tank transfers, like BBQ bottles.

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Post Re: Satellite Rescue and Life Extension   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:27 am
thanks idiom :) you are right, if satellites were more standardized in nature, things would be alot easier.


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Post Re: Satellite Rescue and Life Extension   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:40 pm
refueling is one way, docking a tug to the satellite may be another way. There was a Dutch company that came up with that idea and it would have used ion engines as main thrusters for a small tug to be launched as a add on payload to an Adrianne 5 launch mission. It was an extraordinary design and I kind of wished it would have been implemented.

So besides refueling in space I'd say tug technology, more specifically reusable/refuel-able tug technology and tug operations.

I can easily imagine 5-10 tugs servicing various satellites, in LEO and GTO just by maneuvering and docking with the satellites.

Of course as we see on the ISS every satellite needs to have at least a small docking or grapple port.


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Post Re: Satellite Rescue and Life Extension   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 3:44 pm
Also not all fuels are explosive. Arc rockets, ion dries, and VASIMIR use gas but accelerates them by other means than combustion. So refueling with a single gas that can be well contained is ..... a research project.


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Post Re: Satellite Rescue and Life Extension   Posted on: Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:06 pm
This was demonstrated 2 years ago with the Orbital Express system. Battery replacement, refueling, even computer box replacement was demo'd ON ORBIT.
lesse...
http://www.darpa.mil/orbitalexpress/

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