A “space tug” concept capable of dragging communications satellites that have run out of fuel back into an operational orbit will be unveiled on Wednesday at a conference in France.



The Geosynch Spacecraft Life Extension System (GLES) would extend the life of many telecommunications satellites still capable of functioning properly but drifting without fuel, says the US company behind its design, Orbital Recovery.



Communications satellites normally have about 15 years of fuel on-board. When this runs out they are then taken out of operation and moved into a safe orbit. Being able to reposition a drifting satellite could extend its life for a valuable 10 years, leading a number of groups to investigate ways of reviving them.