Dead Satellites and Onions

If the head of the USAF Space Command has doubts, our friends at ViviSat and MDA ought to be concerned about their satellite-servicing business proposition. Via Popular Mechanics

It sounds like such a good idea: When satellites run out of fuel, send up a robot to top them off instead of launching a new one. NASA and DARPA have active programs researching this concept. But Gen. Shelton, as head of Air Force Space Command, says he doesn’t see the need. By the time a satellite runs out of propellant, the hardware is about 22 years old. After that much time, he argues, the solar arrays have degraded and the computers are relics. “Now we want to go up and refuel it?” he asks. “When you peel back a few layers of this onion, it makes less sense to me.”

The Space Command celebrated their 30th last week in Colorado Springs and their opinions do matter. However, with DARPA and NASA remaining interested, the business still has reason to go forward. Except for Intelsat.

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