Extend the active work of satellites in orbitmaybe an ordinary space tanker. The main reason that modern satellites are turning into useless trash is the generation of energy. The satellites simply run out of fuel for maneuvers in orbit.
Joint project Northrop Grumman and NASAwill allow to start solving the task of replenishing satellites with fuel. In the near future, on October 9, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Russian Proton rocket will launch a unique Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV-1), capable of refueling satellites in space.
90 days after launch, MEV-1 will refuelIntelsat communication system satellite, as a result of which the apparatus will last another five years. Then MEV-1 will also be able to help other satellites (more than 50 spacecraft operate in the Intelsat system alone). The fuel supply put into orbit is enough for MEV-1 to operate for 10 years.
In 2020, another spacecraft will be launchedthe MEV-2 refueling tank, which will also travel to the Intelsat satellite. Both space tankers have the ability to dock with 80% of satellites flying in orbit, which makes the vehicles universal and potentially in demand.
Currently, NASA is developing its own space refueling system and, if the program is successfully completed, plans to offer its own services to satellite owners.
Solving the problem of fuel supply to satellitesIt will allow not only to save near-Earth space from excess garbage, but also to increase the economic efficiency of projects and create conditions for long-term scientific research.