Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
The UK-based company Effective Space will be launching small Space Drone ships to push aging satellites into better orbits. Science fiction writers of long ago thought about this, and called them "rocket tugs", by analogy to ocean-going tugboats.
(Effective Space satellite servicing "drones" in 2020)
The "Space Drone" (yellow) would dock with the ageing telecommunications satellite (orange).
Effective Space already has a deal to send the washing-machine-sized systems to go latch on to two satellites that are running out of fuel and take over their station keeping duties.
The low-cost drones are designed to be compact (1m x 1m x 1.25m; 400kg) and one way to achieve this is to use electric propulsion.
This fits in a very small volume and provides thrust by ionising and then ejecting a gas. It is an efficient technology but works best over longer timescales.
Golden Age (of science fiction) great Nat Schachner wrote about the space tug idea in his 1937 story Crystalized Thought:
WHEN the great globe was completed, and stocked with all its multitudinous machines, twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space...
(Read more about the rocket tug)
I'd add that fans of more recent authors might recall the pushpots from Murray Leinster's novel Space Tug (1953).
Via Effective Space and BBC.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/12/2018)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.' - George Lucas, 1977.
Japan Uses Explosives On Asteroid
'...a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk. It hit, exploding into a cloud of incandescent vapour.' - EC Tubb, 1958.
Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...' - Gene Roddenberry, 1968.
Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.' - Garrett P. Serviss, 1898.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Boring Company Tunnel vs. Street Race
'There was almost no sound, just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.'
Project Dylan - Amazon's Voice-Activated Wearable That Recognizes Human Emotions
Life imitates anime art.
Tesla Diagnoses Itself, Sends Part Request
'Tentacles emerged from the side of the machine and felt puzzledly at the damaged area.'
Lilium Electric Air Taxi Prototype
'The air-taxi found its way past and around other ground-cars...'
Swedes Premiere T-Pod Driverless Electric Truck
'the trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'
HEL TVD Laser System To Be Built By Dynetics Lockheed Martin
'Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men.'
Alcarelle Synthetic Alcohol Like Star Trek Synthehol
Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.
Kazahk Ironist Protester Arrested For Blank Sign Protest
'...a man carried a white rectangular sign, blank on both sides.'
Bitcoin Surges Again, To $7,000
'... electronic, private cash, unbacked by any government, untraceable, completely anonymous.'
China Develops Taste Testing Robots
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'
North Sea Stone Age Reconstruction And Philip K Dick
'Your Dip digs back into antiquity. Rome. Greece. Dust and old volumes.'
Tesla Robotaxis Will Automatically Recharge Themselves
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'
New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.'
Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD
'Gramp Stevens sat in a lawn chair, watching the mower at work...'
Elon Musk Foretells Tesla Sans Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories