Part 1 of 2 Parts
I have often blogged about the terrible problem with space junk. There are millions of pieces at many sizes that could threaten satellites. One solution to this problem may be to find a way to recycle the space junk. I recently blogged about some ideas for recycling materials from satellites in geosynchronous orbit to build new satellites. Batteries, cameras and solar panels were also to be recycled. Now there has been a proposal to recycle empty fuel tanks.
Nanoracks is a private space company headquartered in Houston. It was launched to develop products and offers services for the commercial utilization of space. The company hosts a CubeSat Deployer which was developed to deploy CubeSats from the International Space Station. Nanoracks is planning for the construction of a rocket-launching facility on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.
Maritime Launch Services is a private space company headquartered in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is a space transport services company. MLS is a joint venture of three U.S. based firms. One hundred and ten million dollars will be spent by MLS to construct a launch site near the town of Canso, Nova Scotia. It will rely on Ukrainian Cyclone-4M rockets to launch satellites into solar and sun synchronous orbits from Canso.
The Cyclone-M4 rocket was derived from the Tsyklon-4 rocket which was going to be developed as launch vehicle for a planned launch site at the Alcantara Launch Center in Brazil. The cooperative agreement between Ukraine and Brazil was cancelled over concerns about the cost and projected market. MLS announced in 2017 that it was going to use the design of the Tsyklon-4 as the basis for a new rocket called the Cyclone-M4.
The Cyclone-M4 was designed by Yuzhnoye and is being manufactured by Yuzhmash. The cost of development was originally estimated to be around a hundred and fifty million dollars. The rocket is about one hundred and thirty feet tall and thirteen feet in diameter. It has two stages. It can carry anywhere between two thousand pounds to eleven thousand pounds of payload depending on the altitude of the orbit and the orbital orientation. The first stage weighs about a million pounds including the fuel which is liquid oxygen and a highly refined form of kerosene similar to jet fuel. The second stage weighs about fifty-five thousand pounds including fuel which is nitrogen tetroxide and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine.
MLS and Nanoracks have signed a contract to collaborate on the repurposing of upper stages of the MLS Cyclone-4M rockets. Nanoracks has been researching ways to recycle space junk to construction what it refers to as “outposts” around the solar systems. The research has been supported by NASA.
The outposts envisioned by Nanoracks include hotels, research facilities, fuel depots and storage centers. Jeffrey Manber is the CEO of Nanoracks. He said, “There's lots of things that you can be doing with the upper stages and our core belief at Nanoracks is you don't waste something in space — it's too precious.”
Please read Part 2
Nanoracks and MLS Partner o Recycle Empty Fuel Tanks From Launches - Part 1 of 2 Parts
Part 1 of 2 Parts