Drones in space
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

Interplanetary logistics specialists Effective Space Solutions has signed a multi-year contract to provide two ‘space drones’ to an unnamed regional satellite operator. According to the company, the deal is worth upwards of $100 million over the course of its life.

The craft – each of which weighs less than 400kg – will provide “station-keeping” and “attitude-control capabilities” as part of the upkeep of two communications satellites. Equipped with electric thrusters and controlled using S-band radio frequencies, they will launch in 2020.

Speaking of the deal, founder and CEO of Effective Space Arie Halsband said: “We are seeing steady growth in the number of satellite launches per year, but little progress has been made in increasing the life span of this space hardware. As the space support ecosystem establishes, there is no reason for it to be entirely self-sufficient any longer.

“Our technology enables satellite owners to maximise the lifespan of their hardware, and run expensive fuel resources to zero before decommissioning. This will be one of the first commercial mission contracts of in-orbit servicing.”

Other initial focuses for the space drone technology include relocation, orbit/de-orbiting work, and inclination correction.

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