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The competition heats up: An Israeli start-up is building a satellite tugboat that could be used to move stranded satellites to their proper orbits.
The planned satellite, once built and deployed, should be able to rendezvous with in-orbit satellites and propel them into new orbits, give them course corrections, or steer them towards what’s known as the “graveyard orbit” – a decommissioned satellite graveyard some 300km above their usual height of 36,000 kilometers over the equator. This fuel saving can extend a communications satellite’s life.
The company says its tugboat design could be a possible solution to two stranded Galileo Project satellites, now in possibly unusable orbits following a launch malfunction over the weekend.
The spacecraft would use an ion engine for propulsion.