Orbital Tugs, Lockheed Style

Lockheed’s concept consists of two different vehicles. One, called Jupiter, is a space tug, equipped with propulsion systems and a robotic arm. The other, Exoliner, is a version of the cargo contained used by Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to carry cargo to the ISS. In a train metaphor used by the company at the March 12 press event (held at Washington’s Union Station), Jupiter is a locomotive while Exoliner is a railcar.

Lockheed Martin would start cargo services by launching a Jupiter and Exoliner together on an Atlas V. That vehicle would berth with the station with the assistance of the station’s robotic arm, in much the same way as Cygnus and Dragon cargo spacecraft do today. After unloading up to 5,000 kilograms of cargo and then loading cargo for disposal, Jupiter and Exoliner would unberth from the ISS and move away.

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *