May 16, 2012      

The U.S. space agency is keeping track of about 22,000 pieces of space debris. But the report from the National Research Council (NRC) estimates another
500,000 bits of space junk, 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) or less, are out there. And bits of debris less than 1 centimeter the NRC estimates in the range of tens of millions.

Space Mart & Popsci?Aside from a couple particularly nasty collisions, dead satellites comprise the bulk of our planet?s space junk problem ? as they die, get fried by radiation and become zombies, or are decommissioned, there?s nowhere for them to go.

ViviSat aims to change that by servicing satellites where they are, pushing them into new orbits and allowing them to live longer.

ViviSat, which was founded last year, says it is in contract negotiations with satellite providers to work as a sort of on-call satellite doctor. When a satellite ends up in the wrong orbit or needs extra power to maintain it, ViviSat can launch a Mission Extension Vehicle to rendezvous with it.

U.S. Space and ATK have announced the creation of ViviSat, a new satellite life extension venture. ViviSat provides geosynchronous satellite operators with flexible, scalable, capital-efficient, and low-risk in-orbit mission extension and protection services that can add several years to the revenue-producing life of a satellite.

ViviSat’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) is designed to dock with the orbiting satellite, securely latch on to it, and serve as a back-up propulsion system. This enables a mission extension for satellites which have run out of maneuvering fuel yet still have plenty of electrical power to operate their payloads.

Services include rendezvous and docking without interruption of satellite operation, long-term station-keeping and attitude control, relocation to different orbits or orbital slots, de-orbiting, and rescue and re-orbiting of satellites stranded in incorrect orbital slots.

Edward D. Horowitz, Chairman of ViviSat and Co-founder of U.S. Space, said, “ViviSat is a new company dedicated to providing satellite operators, the U.S. Government and its coalition government partners with in-orbit mission extension and protection services.

ViviSat’s service model delivers a game-changing advance in financial efficiency, operating flexibility and risk mitigation. ViviSat provides satellite operators around the world solutions designed to improve performance, return and cash flow from existing space assets and activate new markets and new opportunities.”

Tom Wilson, Board Member of ViviSat and Vice President and General Manager of ATK Spacecraft Systems and Services, said, “In-orbit mission extension and operations protection are a brand new market and ViviSat will enable operators to extend satellite mission duration, drive asset value, and protect their franchises in ways no other provider can offer.