After being released into the outer space, space vehicles can no longer come back on Earth for maintenance. Hopefully, the Hubble Space Telescope proves that there is hope in the Universe as well. Another satellite has managed to bring into space the necessary equipment, which has tremendously extended the lifespan of Hubble.
This technology is showing a promising initiative, as it could impact future research. The Northrop-Grumman satellite, in collaboration with Intelsat 901, is now representing the Hubble’s engine. Intelsat 901 was launched into space back in 2001, and in December 2019, it was moved to research the graveyard orbit, after it ran out of fuel.
A satellite repaired another for the first time ever
The Mission Extension Vehicle is a fuel tank that was specially designed to take other satellites into its custody and repair any fuel issues that they may encounter. The MEV’s mission is to move the moon back into its orbit, where it can enter into service since it has no possibility of transferring fuel to the satellite’s engine. The alternative to directly connect the ammunition has been considered as well by the scientists, but allowing the spacecraft to service itself is a lot more useful than letting MEV produce any physical connection.
This is an innovation as far as re-orbiting satellites are concerned. Therefore, the scientists have no idea of how many vehicles can MEV service and for how long time. Consequently, this approach shows promising results, aiming for fewer launches of satellites and longer life expectancy for the existing ones, as well as a minimum amount of space junk in the orbits.
The price range will also be influenced by this discovery, since it would be a lot cheaper to launch a satellite and its fuel tanker, than building two satellites that are doing the same job. A new array of improvements is on its way. The scientists are now looking forward to developing a post-launch upgrading option for the satellites.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.