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IOS Mission and Maturation Phase Proposal – In-Orbit Refuelling Assessment

Programme Reference
Start Date
End Date
United Kingdom
IOS Mission and Maturation Phase Proposal – In-Orbit Refuelling Assessment

During this Phase 0 maturation study, ASUK, with the support of Thales Alenia Space (TAS), Nammo, MDA and GMV, performed a programmatic, business and technical assessment of a future low-Earth orbit (LEO) refuelling mission. The mission concept proposes developing and demonstrating core technologies in a preliminary service offering to enable a commercial in-orbit refuelling service. Such a service will swiftly redefine how satellites are designed and operated, launching a dynamic and sustainable in-orbit ecosystem with significant potential. The maturation study concludes at Mission Definition Review and represents a critical first step to realising the future of commercial and sustainable LEO In-Orbit Services (IOS).

ASUK recognises that providing a reliable, cost effective, and commercially sustainable service is critical to the viability of the future refuelling market. Throughout this study the overall solution has been designed with commercial sustainability in mind. The solution proposed by ASUK is a variant of their ELSA-M LEO Servicer (built upon the flight heritage of Astroscale’s pioneering ELSA-d mission), to refuel client satellites, granting additional on-orbit lifetime for satellites and providing significant value to satellite operators. This variant of the ELSA-M Servicer leverages ASUK’s flight heritage, rendezvous capabilities and European supply chain, to offer a cost-effective and low risk proposition which allows the refuelling of satellites to be offered at a commercially viable price within a competitive timeframe.

Executive summary