We intend to create a Cubesat Deorbiter business (CDb). This will be a stepping stone to a Space Salvage business (SSb) where we will provide salvage services to de-construct satellites and other space infrastructure and save the parts and fuel for other space equipment refurbishment. Space Salvage business will be a stepping stone to Space Manufacturing&Mining business (SMMb) where we will use the SSb platforms and its parts in space plus other parts we send up to it from earth plus material from the moon and other space objects to mine and manufacture, in space, space structures and other equipment.
CDb will require a number of cubesat (1U) technologies besides basic (cube) satellite GN&C (Guidance, Navigation & Control) and all of its underpinnings but mechanisms to match orbits of target space debris/satellites, identify/match targets, trap space debris/disabled satellites and finally to deorbit. And hopefully repeat the process as long as the CubeSat is capable and finally deorbit itself.
SSb is a whole other step in technological sophistication. We plan to use CDs cube sats but rather than deorbiting the debris, we plan to capture and move it to an orbiting SSb platform (10U cubesat, unclear if this is valid cubesat configuration) with a gaggle of containers. This will require significant automation, mechatronics, welding-plasma torches, and toolboxes of tools to deconstruct/refurbish space equipment. Once within the platform, there are two steps to what we plan to do
- For debris and decommissioned space equipment, SSb automation (with help from ground control) will deconstruct the satellite/space debris and place the electronic parts, structural parts, fuel(s), optics, radios, propulsion units, batteries, PV panels, power distribution units, wiring, etc. into various canisters which can be opened to add parts or closed to contain them.
- For active space mission equipment, SSb automation (with help from ground control) will be able to add or replace electronic parts, structural parts, fuel(s), optics, radios, propulsion units, batteries, PV panels, power distribution units, wiring, etc. We will need to test all the equipment to understand whether it’s working or not
It’s conceivable that SSb could be used to build out space structures and other infrastructure and launch it from the platform. It’s entirely possible that with sufficient parts.
We would expect at least two SSb stations in LEO (low-earth) and GEO (geo-synchronous) orbits. If not more that have different orbits/trajectories in LEO band. Ultimately we would like to have one or more of these platforms in each of the 5 Lagrange points (L1-L5), plus in orbits around the Moon, Mars, Venus, Sun, and perhaps the other planets.
Whereas SSb is ultimately intended to replace parts using equivalently salvaged parts, SMMb goes to the next level. Here we wish to use other space resources, asteroids, meteorites, lunar rock, etc. to refine, and manufacture structural elements in space. Ultimately, we would like to be able to utilize all the spare parts, plus any minerals we can extract from space objects in orbit around the sun, or sent up from the moon to create space infrastructure, in space.
This will require even more equipment, tools, mechanisms, and automation than SSb. And as this would be most useable in the L1-L5 orbits, or around other planets, communications will be delayed considerably, so autonomous operations is paramount.