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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Starlink Satellites Leading Edge On-Orbit Debris Mitigation
Propulsion-assisted orbital decay, brought to you by SpaceX.

Space Hero Inc. Offers Trip To ISS As Reality Show Prize
'This is Elmer Schmitz, presenting to you the finalists in our Aviation Quiz Program...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1952.

Bigrating Laser Beam-Riding Light Sail Is Self-Correcting
'That sail will be twenty thousand miles at the wide part.' - Cordwainer Smith, 1960.

ISS Astronauts Test Estee Lauder 'Advanced Night Repair' Skin Serum
'Out in the New Moon, just ask for what you want...' - Jack Williamson, 1939.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Tesla Will Have Metal Gear Snake Autocoupler, Musk Confirms
'Its motion was so swift, complex, and perfect that at first I did not see it as a machine, in spite of its metallic glitter.'

Starlink Satellites Leading Edge On-Orbit Debris Mitigation
Propulsion-assisted orbital decay, brought to you by SpaceX.

Healight Ultraviolet Endotracheal Device Has Covid-19 Treatment Potential
'He applied the tip of the instrument to the interior of the wound...'

Parents Use AI To See One Last Message From Their Deceased Son
'...what's to keep me from showing face, Man?'

Satoshi Tomizu Creates Pocket Universes And Worldcraft Bubbles In Glass
'The Worldcraft bubble glittered, catching the light...'

Space Hero Inc. Offers Trip To ISS As Reality Show Prize
'This is Elmer Schmitz, presenting to you the finalists in our Aviation Quiz Program...'

I Love Ceiling-Mounted Robots
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...'

Armano Remote Control Excavator
'The bulldozer moved through the... mine... '

OK, NASA 3D Printer Of Food Not Yet Star Trek Food Synthesizer
Maybe not, but we're seeing definite progress.

Kelly Clarkson Show Like Black Mirror '15 Million Merits'
'These people are pieces of software called avatars.'

Salto Jumping Robot Now Sticks Landing!
'Lucky touched the leap knob and the hopper's leg retracted.'

Gyroscopic Median-Straddling Mass Transit Vehicles
'It was among these leviathans that the little gyrocar was daring to thrust its puny self...'

Bigrating Laser Beam-Riding Light Sail Is Self-Correcting
'That sail will be twenty thousand miles at the wide part.'

ISS Astronauts Test Estee Lauder 'Advanced Night Repair' Skin Serum
'Out in the New Moon, just ask for what you want...'

LG Wing Twisting Smartphone Might Be Fun
'A polycarbon screen unfurled...'

Mushroom Coffin Returns You To Nature, Naturally
'She touched the leaf. She was wanted.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.