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Designing the Robotic Space Tug

Contacts: Michael Thompson (Projects Director, SEDS-USA); Robert Bell (Executive Director, SSPI)

For the past half century, the only artificial objects orbiting Earth have been manned spacecraft, space stations and satellites. As we begin to open up space to new opportunities, from new orbits to new applications, both commercial and government organizations are exploring the creation of a new orbital vehicle. It would be a multi-functional workhorse that, with minimal retrofitting, could tackle assignments from relocating objects in orbit to cleaning up space debris, servicing space stations and even shuttling between Earth and Lunar orbit. It would be, in a word, a space “tug,” like the tugboats that are the workhorses of seaports around the planet. Several concepts are being researched by the “usual suspects” in aerospace, including Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Space Systems Loral, the European Space Agency and Orbital ATK.

See the PDF version above for full details, and make sure to register soon!  The first help session by SEDS-USA will be held on January 18th!

launch_image_copyA solar electric propulsion tug concept by Analytical Mechanics Associates.