Tag Archives: refueling

The satellite communications company Intelsat has backed out of a deal to have a robot refuel some of itsr orbiting satellites.

Bad news: The satellite communications company Intelsat has backed out of a deal to have a robot refuel some of its orbiting satellites.

Apparently Intelsat would rather rake in the cash by launching new satellites rather than take a risk at a new technology that could save its customers a lot of money.

Robot Gas Attendants Could Keep Old Satellites Chugging

Robot gas attendants could keep old satellites chugging.

MDA has a contract, and a good design. If they succeed in refueling an old communications satellite with a robot, it will be fundamentally change the launch industry. If satellites don’t have to be replaced as often, there will less need for launches, reducing the demand for rockets.

Robot refueling test of satellites to be launched on last shuttle flight

A testbed for testing the robotic refueling of satellites will be installed on ISS on last shuttle flight.

This whole testbed is the brainchild of Frank Cepollina, the man behind all of the Hubble Space Telescope repair missions. Until recently it was doubtful there was room for this project on any shuttle mission. That he nonetheless managed to get it on the last flight is another testament to Cepollina’s incredible ability to get things done. And if the tests work on ISS, NASA will then consider launching operational systems for refueling several perfectly usable climate satellites now in orbit.

Satellite Builders express contempt for MDA’s refueling plans for Intelsat

Sour grapes: Satellite builders express contempt for MDA’s refueling plans for Intelsat orbiting satellites.

No surprise here. If Intelsat can extend the life of its satellites, than it won’t have to buy them as often from these builders, something the builders clearly don’t want.

Intelsat signs MDA to perform in-space refueling of its communications satellites

Intelsat signs MDA to perform in-space refueling of its communications satellites.

The concept of refueling geosynchronous satellites has been lurking about the aerospace industry for years. According to this deal, we should see an actual mission in about five years.