Australian space startup Space Machines hired me to develop concepts for a robotic space tug — a satellite designed to push other spacecraft up in to higher orbits.
At the time I was commissioned, the spacecraft existed only as a checklist of components and dimensional specifications, so I was able to approach the design as a nearly blank canvas.
The design process culminated in a series of colour illustrations demonstrating the vehicle in action.
In this detail, we see the RCS thrusters firing as the tug moves in to position behind another spacecraft. The golden ring is an ESPA ring — a universal adapter for mounting spacecraft together.
The tug is designed to boost other spacecraft from Low Earth Orbit up to higher orbits and even on deep space missions.
From behind, we see the three Hall Effect Thrusters which serve as the spacecraft’s primary propulsion system:
The plan view shows how the vehicle deploys its solar panels from a protective clamshell housing:
Finally, I created a detailed cutaway of the spacecraft, showing the key internal components:
The final production model was stripped down to a less stylized construction, but my design was featured in a range of early promotional press.