From: Orbital Recovery Corporation
Posted: Wednesday, April 13, 2005
London, England and Noordwijk, The Netherlands; April 13, 2005 - The ConeXpress Orbital Life Extension Vehicle (CX-OLEVTM) has successfully passed its Baseline Design Review milestone, clearing the way for this innovative space tug's formal offer to customers on operational servicing missions beginning in 2008.
Validation of the CX-OLEV's feasibility followed a year-long Phase B1 study, which was conducted by the Orbital Recovery Ltd.-led industrial team and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Phase B1 study addressed all of the space tug's technical and operational aspects, including design, production, launch and in-orbit operations. Mission modeling performed with simulators confirmed the CX-OLEV's ability to carry out its high-value space servicing flights, including the precision approach and docking phase with telecommunications satellites.
The CX-OLEV will supply the propulsion, navigation and guidance to maintain valuable telecommunications satellites in their proper orbital slots for up to eight additional years. Orbital Recovery Ltd. has identified approximately 70 telecom satellites currently in orbit that are candidates for life extension through 2012 using the CX-OLEV, due to their revenue-generating potential for the customer.
The space tug's Baseline Design Review was held March 31 at ESA's ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, Holland, with the results presented to delegates from ESA member states, as well as satellite telecommunications managers from companies that included Intelsat, SingTel Optus and Hispasat.
"With the Baseline Design Review now completed, we are offering firm mission opportunities with the CX-OLEV beginning in the third quarter of 2008," said Orbital Recovery Ltd. Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Phil Braden. "We will enter commercial negotiations for the first launch opportunity later this month"
The CX-OLEV programme offers Europe a leadership role for the emerging in-orbit services marketplace, which is expected to develop into a multi-million dollar business.
Orbital Recovery Ltd. has assembled a team of leading European companies to develop, produce and operate the space tug - bringing together the expertise of Dutch Space, Kayser-Threde, the DLR German Space Agency, Swedish Space Corporation, SENER, EADS CASA, Arianespace, Snecma, Contraves Space and Grupo GMV. The CX-OLEV program is supported by the European Space Agency's ARTES 4 public-private partnership initiative.
The CX-OLEV is designed to easily mate with all three-axis stabilized telecommunications satellites now in space or planned. In a unique approach to spacecraft development, the space tug is based on the existing cone-shaped payload adapter that is used on every Ariane 5 flight.
Control of the CX-OLEV will be handled by the Swedish Space Corporation on behalf of U.K.-based Orbital Recovery Ltd. following its launch and during the initial free-flight phase. Docking and checkout of the space tug with its telecommunications satellite target will be a joint effort between the DLR German Space Agency, the Swedish Space Corporation, Orbital Recovery and the telecommunications satellite operator. Once the docking and checkout has been completed, long-term control can be handed over to the satellite operator or its designated operations contractor - with technical support and service provided by Orbital Recovery Ltd. throughout the operating lifetime.
For additional information, see Orbital Recovery Ltd.'s website: www.orbitalrecovery.com
About the CX-OLEV
Telecommunications satellites typically cost in excess of $250 million to place in orbit, with an average useful on-orbit life of 10-15 years. Once their on-board propellant has been depleted, the satellites are boosted into a disposal orbit and decommissioned, even though their revenue-generating communications relay payloads are still functional.
Orbital Recovery Ltd.'s CX-OLEV is a new-generation spacecraft that will significantly prolong the operating lifetimes of these valuable telecommunications satellites. Launched aboard the Arianespace Ariane 5 launcher, the CX-OLEV will operate as an orbital "tugboat" - supplying the propulsion, navigation and guidance to maintain even the largest telecom satellite in its proper orbital slot for up to eight additional years.
In addition, the CX-OLEV is able to boost satellites to disposal orbits after the completion of their operational service - which is now becoming mandatory for telecommunications spacecraft operating in geostationary orbit. For operators of satellite fleets, a CX-OLEV could perform the disposal service for multiple spacecraft, remaining in orbit and available on call when needed.
Press & media contact:
The InfoWEST Group
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