How Can Space Drones Give Satellites a New Lease of Life?
The British aerospace company Effective Space made a breakthrough announcement recently, which would give a new lease of life to all satellites in geostationary orbit, which are occupying prime space. Satellites that would exhaust its fuel would be taken over by a range of space drones which would be launched in 2020 by the company for a client who is still not disclosed by Effective Space. The drones in space that the company is developing would help to effectively maneuver such satellites which would otherwise be obsolete.
This unprecedented space drone technology that the company has painstakingly developed after years of research and many tests could open up a very competitive market in future drone satellite operations. One very lucrative market that could be developed to universal acceptance would be satellite mobile phones. One company that is already making headway in the industry of satphone could be in the forefront when the technology from Effective Space is made available. Similar to the proliferation of mobile smartphones in the present generation, this drone satellite technology employed in satellite phones could be the mode of communication for the next generation. By using satellites which would be otherwise obsolete with this space drone technology costs in this very competitive industry could be slashed offering prospective customers very attractive prices.
It is communication that has been pushed competitively forward and which has brought about the much spoken of globalization which has effectively encompassed the human race over the last decade or so. The use of satellite phones would take communication into a new dimension and it would definitely draw the human race closer than what we are experiencing at present. The world is faced with many challenges with the rest of this century and beyond aggravating those challenges and it could be envisaged that with the proliferation of communication we may be able to effectively iron out those issues.
Employing the Clark Belt Effectively
The proactive idea that Effective Space began working on was the need to do something productive with all those satellites that are hovering above Earth in space which if left there would cause immense damage to us when they subsequently come crashing down in a ball of fire. There are some satellites that are as big as a car which could come crashing down to Earth gaining high speed as it comes which could cause unprecedented damage to life and property.
The Clark Belt named after the illustrious science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clark, who lived most of his later life and subsequently demised in the resplendent Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka, consists of about 600 very important satellites in an imaginary ring about 36,000 kilometers above the Earth’s Equator. Whilst it is known how many satellites are in the Clark Belt, the precise numbers of how many satellites are in space are still elusive information. This is due to the fact that there are many military satellites which are launched into space by different countries not being disclosed to the international community due to obvious reasons.
The Clark Belt would exhaust space with the saturation of these geostationary satellites one day in the future and some of them after their supplies of fuel is completed would become obsolete and serve no purpose for mankind. Geostationary satellites are ones that are fixed on a single area of the world which do not move but does move with the rotation of the Earth. These are satellites employed for communications, weather not forgetting military purposes too. For instance, the United States would have geostationary military satellites fixed on Russia whilst there would satellites of the latter fixed on the former, too.
The space in the Clark Belt is fast diminishing and that is what has prompted the company Effective Space to step in with a very effective solution the drone satellite technology to address the problem which would definitely aggravate in the next few decades. The life span of satellites would vary but they would generally be in effective service for about 15 years or thereabout. Beyond that, the satellites would be obsolete in operational capabilities but worst of all it would be occupying valuable space in the Clark Belt. Such a satellite would be unable to reposition itself due to the fact that its fuel resources would have been exhausted by that time and would not have the power to move. They would be what we classify as space junk and be occupying valuable space on the Clark Belt.
A New Lease Of Life For Satellites
Though they would be obsolete in operation due to the exhaustion of their fuel supplies these satellites would still carry valuable hardware, be they for communication, weather or military. The hardware on board could still be used productively if they could be repositioned. The drone satellite technology developed by Effective Space would come to be used to do so and give a new lease of life to the otherwise obsolete satellite. This progressive company would be the pioneers in addressing this problem if their envisaged space drone could employ itself to carry out this groundbreaking task and especially provide communication satellites which would drastically reduce overall costs.
The drone satellite technology developed by Effective Space would employ its nonintrusive docking mechanism permitting the space drone to dock into the obsolete satellites, which are not designed for such an exercise. The space drone which would weigh about 400 kilograms would attach itself at the interface rings of the satellite. It was these interface rings that were used to attach it to the rocket that took it into space orbit originally. The space drone would then be able to maneuver the drone satellite into a new position with its own ion-propulsion systems until the satellite’s hardware malfunctions or is termed obsolete by the owning company and hence ending the mission of the drone satellite.
Once the satellite is beyond economical use the space drone could detach itself from the satellite and move onto another obsolete satellite providing it a new lease of life and a new customer to be satisfied. This sequence of operations could go on until the space drone would itself run out of its ion-propulsion capability in about 15 years and thereafter it would also go into being classified as space junk.