The Future of Satellite Refueling

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and Kennedy Space Center in Florida joined teams and efforts to test new robotic refueling technologies that could help satellites live longer in space. During the test, a robotic arm with a highly specialized tool transfered satellite oxidizer -- an extremely corrosive fluid that helps propel satellites in orbit -- through the valve of a simulated spacecraft. Adding to the complexity, the test was operated remotely from Goddard while performed at Kennedy's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility. The test simulated the refueling of a spacecraft in orbit, an extremely challenging task that the team has been tackling since they launched the successful Robotic Refueling Mission demonstration to the International Space Station in 2011. For more info, visit http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/nasa-tests-new-robotic-refueling-technologies/

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  1. Bronco46
    Bronco46 Aug 12, 2014

    I guess technology is finally catching up with need. Looks like it's going to be a while though before this is operational. And none of the current satellites are designed for this. Satellite makers will have to agree on a some common fittings; or the refueling probe will have to accommodate attachments that allow it to adapt. It's going to be interesting to watch this technology develop.

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