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The SpaceTug approaches its target without mission interruption


On-orbit servicing is part of a future major disruption in the space landscape that will soon revolutionise space transportation and the way we use space. Airbus O. CUBED Services will be operated by a new class of spacecraft, known as the SpaceTug, the genuine enablers of such services. The satellite servicing SpaceTug family relies on advanced robotics, electric propulsion, vision-based navigation and rendezvous and proximity technics.


End-to-end on-orbit services are offered in three main domains:

??GEO maintenance & inspection services targeting GEO Telecom fleets,

??Logistics services target both GEO (geostationary orbit) satellite fleets (spacecraft delivery to GEO) and LEO (low-Earth orbit) constellation deployment,

??Clean-up services for active debris removal for a sustainable outer space.

GEO servicing

Docking to the client spacecraft is the first step of a maintenance service.

The end-to-end services offered to Telecom operator fleets allow them to maximise their fleet’s value and get increased flexibility.

??Life extension services, by refuelling or saving fuel like tugging to a graveyard orbit, is an opportunity to get extra money from the fleet.

??Relocation services offer a better optimisation of the fleet operations.

??Upgrade services will allow to adapt the mission during the spacecraft lifetime with payload swap, for instance.

??Inspection services will ensure situational awareness service, while assets monitoring increases flexibility in satellite fleet management and improves profitability.

Logistics services

Life extension services with SpaceTug servicing spacecraft will maximise telecom operators' fleet values.

Tugging services is offered as a transportation mission service. The SpaceTug in its Carrier version can be either directly stacked to the cargo/spacecraft itself into the launcher, either can grab the load previously launched to a rendezvous orbit (LEO or NRHO – Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit) by a launcher in the case the SpaceTug is already orbiting in space waiting for its passenger.

The targeted missions are:

??GEO delivery service: the orbit raising is performed by the SpaceTug carrying the Telecom satellite from LEO directly to GEO.

??Constellation deployment service: the satellites are dispatched on different planes and the dispenser is then de-orbited in order to keep the operational orbits free of debris.

Clean up services

Clean-up services will contribute to maintaining a safe space environment for operational assets.

Space debris are a major threat for the future of space infrastructures. Airbus will soon offer innovative clean-up services to contribute to reducing or preventing space junk and ensure our continued access to space. There are several cleaning technics currently being tested as part of the RemoveDEBRIS project: deorbit modules, nets, harpoons and deorbiting sails. Stationed in space and electrically propelled, the SpaceTug in its Cleaner version will approach and capture several large pieces of debris autonomously and then deorbit them either by lowering their orbit or bringing about their direct re-entry with a deorbiting kit. The applications may be launched in 2023.

Press release

RemoveDEBRIS spacecraft launched from ISS with Airbus space debris capture removal technology

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O.CUBED videos

GEO Maintenance & Inspection Services      
Logistics Services      
Cleaning Up Services      
GEO Maintenance & Inspection Services      

Earth observation

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