An Israeli start-up has reportedly signed a $100 million agreement “with a major regional communications satellite operator” to send up ‘space tug’ craft that will attach themselves to an aging – but much larger – craft and act as a mission extension vehicle. The plan is to launch the Space Drone tugs in 2020.
Effective Space’s two drones, each weighing some 400 kgs, will act as refuelling sources and keep their rescued satellites in orbit for another 4-5 years.
Effective Space is run by Arie Halsband who was formerly GM at the space division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). IAI built many of the Spacecom/Amos fleet of satellites. Effective Space is based in London and has Daniel Campbell as its MD.
Effective Space’s initial focus for its Space Drone is on station-keeping and attitude-control, relocation, deorbiting, orbit and inclination correction and ‘bringing into use’ (BIU), however they could equally be deployed in the future for space active debris removal, the support of low or medium earth orbit constellations and in-space explorations, mining and manufacturing logistics, according to Arie Halsband.
Effective Space is reported to have raised $15 million to date and is wrapping a Series B cash-raising exercise. It has its R&D facility in Tel Aviv with 15 full time and another 10 part-time engineers.
The overall project has patents pending and will be registered out of the UK.