Ariel Schwartz

Satellite Service Stations Could Minimize Space Junk

by , 07/20/10
filed under: green technology

sustainable design, satellite service station, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, mda, satellites, space junk, green designImage by the European Space Agency

We’ve done a bang-up job of polluting both Earth and outer space in the past few decades. Space junk, at least, could be reduced significantly if satellites didn’t die out so quickly. Enter MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), a Canadian company that wants to build a space-bound satellite fueling and service station.

sustainable design, satellite service station, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, mda, satellites, space junk, green design

Here’s how the station would work: after being launched in space, it would dock to existing satellites (note: satellites travel at 7,000 miles per hour), fix them up, and fill them with hydrazine. The process could potentially double or triple the lifespan of satellites if all the onboard equipment remains intact.

MDA hopes to have a prototype ready in 2013 — just in time to help out the 136 satellites scheduled for decommissioning between 2012 and 2020.

+ MDA Corporation

Via Popular Science

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3 Comments

  1. Solar Satellite Launche... December 9, 2010 at 11:33 am

    [...] Solar sail satellites have been taking the top headlines this year, with devices such as Lightsail-1 grabbing much of the attention. However, NASA has just become the first agency to launch an experimental micro-satellite from a larger, solar powered satellite. The NanoSail-D was recently ejected from the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT) in order to show that NASA had the capability to deploy a small cubesat payload from an autonomous micro-satellite in space. NASA believes that this technology could eventually be used to clean up space debris. [...]

  2. Giant Balloons Could So... August 4, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    [...] objects bigger than a centimeter wide hover around our planet, accounting for 4 million pounds of junk that befoul our atmosphere and threaten the expensive satellites we actually want in orbit. What if [...]

  3. Fenland July 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    This is precisely what is required, however i wonder how the service satellites will be maintained and restocked?

    Could it not be a case that perhaps the ISS or future equivalent be used as a control station to maintain or monitor such satellites.

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