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.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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