Germany announced yesterday that it has approved funding for the design of an in-orbit test of a robot satellite servicing mission.
The DEOS project will for the first time demonstrate technologies for the controlled in-orbit disposal of a defective satellite. In addition, DEOS will practice how to complete maintenance tasks – refueling in particular – that extend the service life of satellites. DEOS consists of two satellites, a ‘client’ and a ‘servicer’. The client acts as the satellite requiring maintenance or disposal. The servicer carries out the necessary work on the client. The two satellites will be launched together and brought into orbit at a height of 550 kilometers. According to current planning, DEOS will be ready for launch in 2018.