US Space Command says it needs more maneuverable satellites

News Summary

  • "But satellite servicing may not be the only solution, particularly in an era where companies like SpaceX have developed mass-produced satellites for mega-constellations, such as the Starlink network.Shaw said the Space Force could also look at launching cheaper satellites on a more regular cadence.
  • "Shaw said the military is "constrained" with what it can do with the GSSAP satellites because ground controllers "have to think in terms of months and years" of fuel life with every decision on what and where to maneuver the spacecraft to approach another object in orbit.
  • Dozens of companies participated in a satellite servicing industry day hosted by the Space Force last year.Part of the military’s initial experiments in satellite servicing will involve testing standardized interfaces for refueling.
  • OSAM-1, scheduled for launch in 2025, will attempt to prove that a servicing satellite can stick a refueling probe into the fuel tank of the Landsat 7 satellite "and not blow it up," Purdy said.
  • The company next plans to launch a series of mission extension pods, or “jet packs,” to provide years of additional propulsion for customer satellites in orbit.The Japanese company Astroscale is also developing experiments for in-orbit servicing, with eventual plans to apply the technology to removing space junk from orbit.
  • The refueling port is a device called the Rapidly Attachable Fuel Transfer Interface (RAFTI).The Space Force is expediting its effort to field satellite servicing capabilities by focusing on technology that commercial companies already have in development, Maj. Gen. Stephen Purdy said in April.
Enlarge/ Artists concept of a fuel depot in space.23 with Imagine you purchased a vehicle that needed to last eight years on a single tank of gas. You would probably avoid sharp accelerations, k [+10316 chars]