Press Release

Orbital Recovery Group Signs a Reservation for the First Satellite Servicing Mission Using its CX-OLEV “Space Tug”

By SpaceRef Editor
October 11, 2005
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Orbital Recovery Group Signs a Reservation for the First Satellite Servicing Mission Using its CX-OLEV “Space Tug”

Production order now being prepared for the initial CX-OLEV life extension vehicle, which will be built by a European industrial team

London, England, October 11, 2005 – Orbital Recovery has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement for a telecommunications satellite life extension mission that will use the company’s innovative CX-OLEVTM “space tug” as an in-orbit service vehicle.

This reservation guarantees a launch slot for the CX-OLEV (ConeXpress Orbital Life Extension Vehicle) to prolong the operation of a major international operator’s communications spacecraft, and it marks an important milestone in the development of in-orbit servicing for commercial telecom platforms.  

“We are delighted to have executed this agreement, which represents a key step in our development of the CX-OLEV,” said Philip Braden, Orbital Recovery’s Chief Executive Officer.  “The reserved mission – as well as several others currently under discussion with future customers – will lead to multiple CX-OLEVs being ordered from the European led industrial team.”

The Orbital Recovery life extension mission reserved by the Memorandum of Agreement would be performed in 2009.  It will use the CX-OLEV “space tug” to provide propulsion, navigation and guidance to maintain the telecommunication operator’s satellite in the proper orbital slot for a minimum of five additional years.  This will enable the customer to significantly prolong the revenue-generating service of a valuable in-orbit telecommunications asset, which otherwise would be decommissioned when reaching the end of its normal operating lifetime.

Orbital Recovery Group is developing the CX-OLEV (ConeXpress Orbital Life Extension Vehicle) with a European industrial team that includes 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 programme is supported by the European Space Agency’s ARTES 4 public-private partnership initiative.

This Memorandum of Agreement validates Orbital Recovery’s leadership role in the emerging in-orbit services marketplace, which is expected to develop into a multi-million dollar business.  Orbital Recovery has identified approximately 130 telecommunications satellites currently in orbit that are candidates for CX-OLEV life extension missions through 2015 due to their revenue-generating potential for the customer.

  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 Group’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.

Orbital Recovery has an exclusive arrangement with Arianespace to launch CX-OLEVs on the Ariane 5 launcher.

Press & media contact:

Jeffrey Lenorovitz
The InfoWEST Group
Media relations agency for Orbital Recovery
Tel: +1 703 560-6330
U.S. mobile: +1 703 615-3646
International GSM: +33 (0)6 80 85 86 25

SpaceRef staff editor.