Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, startup Impulse Space and others are developing craft to move payloads after rockets blast them into orbit
By Micah Maidenberg, The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 22, 2024
Need a lift from one swath of the final frontier to another?
Efforts to build rockets designed to blast cargo or crews into space often grab the spotlight. But a number of companies are also working to develop vehicles to fill another need they see coming: moving those satellites and other payloads around in space…
Such ships would work hand-in-glove with big rockets that are being developed…Those rockets, along with others, are designed to be capable of hoisting large amounts of mass into low-Earth orbit. The spacecraft or satellites deployed during launches could then get a lift from the space-transport craft to their final destinations.
These semi trucks of space, also known as orbital-transfer vehicles, could shift satellites and other devices between orbits, or transport them deeper into space. Space-transport vehicles might change how missions are set up from the outset. … [end quote]
This technology is in the exciting phase between science fiction and commercialization. The commercial benefits are obvious.
The article doesn’t mention it, but there’s a huge amount of space junk cluttering up low Earth orbit. I wonder if a world consortium could be set up to use the orbital transfer vehicles to clean up the orbit by redirecting junk to burn up in the atmosphere.