NASA studied another space tug design, termed the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV), along with its plans for Space Station Freedom. The OMV's role would have been a reusable space vehicle that would retrieve satellites, such as Hubble, and bring them to Freedom for repair or retrieval, or to service uncrewed orbital platforms. In 1984, the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) preliminary design studies were initiated through a competitive award process with systems studies conducted by TRW, Martin Marietta Aerospace, and LTV Corporation.


Was this space tug intended to be crewed, or uncrewed? (Pictures might be helpful.)



1 Answer 1


The OMV was intended to be uncrewed.

There's a nice overview of it in the 1988 NASA document, Expendable Launch Vehicle Transportation for the Space Station [i.e. Space Station Freedom]:

The OMV is an excellent candidate for retrieval of logistics payloads delivered by ELVs in a stable orbit. The OMV is being developed by TRW for NASA to extend the reach of the NSTS in low earth orbit. The OMV is composed of two major elements; the Short Range Vehicle (SRV), capable of performing solo low energy missions, and an inserted Propulsion Module (PM). Three separate propulsion systems are used along with sophisticated avionics with rendezvous and docking capability.

Ring-shaped OMV-SRV with propellant tanks, RCS modules, antennas, and cameras positioned around its rim, and the rectangular OMV-PM with larger, throttlable thrusters that nestles inside it.

The complete OMV with PM would be 4775 kg dry. The SRV would carry 700 kg of propellant for hydrazine monoprop and cold-nitrogen thrusters; the PM would carry 4082 kg of bipropellant for the main thrusters.


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