ORC to the rescue... !

From: John locker (satcom@cybase.co.uk)
Date: Thu Dec 05 2002 - 12:14:27 EST

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    Thunderbirds are go....well nearly !  :O)
    See :
    Washington, D.C., Luxembourg, December 5, 2002 - Orbital Recovery
    Corporation has proposed an ambitious rescue plan for ASTRA 1K -- one of the
    world's largest telecommunications satellites -- that was stranded in low
    Earth orbit last week after its launch vehicle malfunctioned.
    The salvage mission would use Orbital Recovery Corp.'s new "space tug" --
    called the Geosynch Spacecraft Life Extension System (SLESTM) -- to boost
    ASTRA 1K from its current 290-km. circular orbit to the desired 35,000-km.
    operational altitude for telecom satellites.
    Orbital Recovery Corp. has been in significant discussions with the
    stakeholders concerned with the future of the Astra 1K spacecraft, who have
    indicated a significant interest in the company's proposed solution to
    recover this massive satellite for normal operation.
    The SLES would be launched in approximately 20 months for a rendezvous and
    docking with ASTRA 1K. Once firmly attached to the stranded
    telecommunications satellite, the space tug will use its own propulsion
    system to raise ASTRA 1K's altitude and reduce its inclination to the Clarke
    Belt orbital plane -- allowing the spacecraft to function for up to its
    original 13-year expected mission lifetime in geostationary orbit.
    "Our SLES is perfectly tailored for the rescue of ASTRA 1K, which is an
    extremely expensive asset that unfortunately is useless in its wrong orbit,"
    said Orbital Recovery Corp. Chief Executive Officer Walt Anderson. "We have
    run simulations of the rescue mission that validate its feasibility, and we
    are ready to work with SES ASTRA in Luxembourg and with the insurance sector
    to make the flight a reality."
    Definition work on the SLES has been completed by Orbital Recovery Corp.,
    which is now creating its industrial team by seeking competitive bids for
    spacecraft hardware and systems from international suppliers. Earlier this
    month, the company announced its selection of the DLR German Aerospace
    Center's robotic technology for the SLES docking and linkup with telecom
    satellites in orbit. In October, Aon Space joined the Orbital Recovery Corp.
    team to provide insurance brokering and risk management services.
    The SLES is a modular spacecraft that can be adapted to operate with a full
    range of three-axis telecommunications satellites -- from the small relay
    platforms to massive 5-metric ton spacecraft such as ASTRA 1K. Proven,
    off-the-shelf hardware will be used in production of the SLES to keep costs
    down and ensure high reliability. It will be built around a main bus that
    contains the spacecraft control/management systems and the primary ion
    propulsion system.
    In addition to the rescue of stranded satellites, the SLES is designed to
    extend the operating lifetimes of telecommunications satellites in
    geostationary orbit that routinely are junked when their on-board fuel
    supply runs out. Orbital Recovery Corp. has identified more than 40
    spacecraft currently in orbit that are candidates for life extension using
    the SLES.
    The first SLES mission is targeted for 2004 on the ASTRA 1K rescue flight,
    with two more deployments the following year and three annually beginning in
    Orbital Recovery Corp. has offices in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, and
    will add an Asia-Pacific presence in early 2003. More information on Orbital
    Recovery Corp. is available on the company's Web site:
    (Editor's note: A computer-generated image depicting the SLES rescue mission
    with ASTRA 1K is being prepared for use by the media. This image will be
    posted in the "Images" section of the Orbital Recovery Corp. Web site,
    www.orbitalrecovery.com, and is available though the press and media contact
    listed below.)
    Press & media contact:
    Jeffrey Lenorovitz
    The InfoWEST Group
    Media relations agency for Orbital Recovery Corporation
    Tel: +1 703 560-6330
    U.S. mobile: +1 703 615-3646
    International GSM: +33 (0)6 80 85 86 25
    e-mail: jleno@infowestgroup.com
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