A space tug or upper stage is a space vehicle (manned or unmanned) used to transfer payloads (such as geosynchronous satellites or manned spacecraft) between low and high Earth orbits, or between Earth orbit and lunar orbit.
Space tug proposals
Space Systems/Loral and Constellation Services International have proposed a reusable space tug based on the 1300 platform. The tug would be used to bring supplies to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.
The VASIMR electric plasma rocket could be used as a high-efficiency space tug, using only 9 tons of Argon propellant to make a round trip to the moon, delivering 34 tons of cargo from Low Earth Orbit to low lunar orbit. The Ad Astra Rocket Company is working to utilize the technology to make a space tug.
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- Hepplewhite, T.A. The Space Shuttle Decision: NASA's Search for a Reusable Space Vehicle. Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1999.
- "SS/L Commercial Orbital Transportation Services". constellationservices.com. 2007.
- NASA Report, Technical Study for the Use of the Saturn 5, INT-21 and Other Saturn 5 Derivatives to Determine an Optimum Fourth Stage (space tug). Volume 1: Technical Volume, Book 1, Web Address when accessed: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19810065609_1981065609.pdf
- Wade, Mark. "Space Tug". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
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