ViviSat space vehicles will keep satellites on track

May 16, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

(Phys.org) -- A company that aims to sell satellite protective services is eagerly stating its business case to geosynchronous satellite operators that can benefit from its approach toward orbit mission extension. ViviSat intends to help these operators to add years to the revenue-producing life of a satellite. Having to mind one’s orbit assets is a concern that the company believes will draw new customers. The company’s CEO, Major General, U.S.A.F. [Ret.] Craig Weston, said that ViviSat was in negotiations with potential customers and that market conditions for such services were strong. Weston is the head of U.S. Space; he has spent a large part of his career operating communications, infra-red warning, and reconnaissance satellites.

The company has been designing a space vehicle that can adjust an older satellite's orbit, rescue fully fueled satellites that may have launched into the wrong location, or move a into a different orbit for a completely new purpose.

ViviSat’s device is a Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) with the purpose of safely connecting to an orbiting satellite to provide supplemental and propulsive capabilities.

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The MEV uses a space-ready docking system and integrated proximity sensors to rendezvous with the host satellite. ViviSat’s MEV does not add fuel or remove any materials on the satellite itself, however, but the company notes this is an advantage, not limitation. For customers in need of an MEV that would be less intrusive, its vehicle allows satellite operations to continue uninterrupted even with the MEV attached.

“Satellites were designed to not be tampered with, and this is a passive approach, which is appealing to operators," said Edward Horowitz, company chairman of the board. Horowitz is co founder of U.S. Space and former CEO of SES Americom.

Two entities, U.S. Space and ATK Space Systems, created ViviSat, which was announced last year. U.S. Space takes care of business and mission management. ATK is the prime contractor, responsible for the manufacture and delivery of the spacecraft, launch and ground segments. (ATK manufactured reusable solid rocket motors for NASA's space shuttles.)

Geostationary satellites perform continuous monitoring of a specific region. ViviSat’s confidence in serving a market need is supported by the fact that, “If you just look at the commercial market, there are 350 to 360 satellites in geostationary orbit,” said Horowitz in .com, of which about 25 each year reach the end of their fuel life. He said that out of those 25, “we figure 10 are good target customers for this.” The company sees its market opportunities lie in both commercial and government spacecraft.

Horowitz said, "We're ready to sell, we're ready to build, we're ready to deliver."

Explore further: Observing the onset of a magnetic substorm

More information: www.vivisat.com/?page_id=10

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User comments : 10

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Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) May 16, 2012
This is what the shuttle was intended to do. But since it was redesigned to be a military satellite service vehicle that the U.S. military abandoned, it really didn't have the characteristics needed to perform the task.

Several satellites were launched with grappling spikes that the shuttle arm could grab onto but it was never cost effective to actually service the satellites, and the grappling system was never employed on a commercial satellite from what I remember.

It is a shame that the Republicans decided to use dirty, underhanded tactics to destroy the original design intent of the shuttle.
Feldagast
not rated yet May 16, 2012
How was the shuttle going to service anything in geostationary orbit, the shuttle couldn't make it out of LEO?
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) May 16, 2012
It's initial design gave it sufficient fuel to reach GSO as well as powered landings.

In fact, servicing communications satellites was it's primary design goal when first conceived. Republicans continually cut the budget until what was left was the near worthless white elephant that was shuttle.

"How was the shuttle going to service anything in geostationary orbit, the shuttle couldn't make it out of LEO?" - Feldagast

yyz
5 / 5 (2) May 16, 2012
"It's initial design gave it sufficient fuel to reach GSO as well as powered landings."

[citation needed]
Vendicar_Decarian
3 / 5 (2) May 16, 2012
[citation needed]

Many spacecraft would fly to high orbit, including geosynchronous orbit, and the payload bay had to address such expectations as that future communications satellites would also grow larger.

http://history.na.../ch5.htm
Silverhill
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2012
ViviSats device is a Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) with the purpose of safely connecting to an orbiting satellite to provide supplemental and propulsive capabilities. ... ViviSats MEV does not add fuel or remove any materials on the satellite itself,
So if it doesn't add fuel, how is it supposed to provide propulsive capabilities?
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (3) May 16, 2012
"So if it doesn't add fuel, how is it supposed to provide propulsive capabilities? - Silverhill

Through the rectal probing of the target spacecraft.

Lex Talonis
2 / 5 (3) May 16, 2012
Maybe since the CEO is no longer a corporate whore killing people for the bank funded corporations, he could drop the attached ego tripping from his former job...."The companys CEO, ""Major General"", U.S.A.F. [Ret.] Craig Weston".

Or is a job description like, "The companys CEO, Craig Weston", too much of a lack of grandiosity?
rwinners
not rated yet May 16, 2012
Silverhill- the box is 'new' motor/fuel supply/navigational system for the satellite.
Silverhill
not rated yet May 17, 2012
Aha -- forgot to check the linked article. Thanx, rwinners.