NASA Successfully Tests Robotic Refueling Technology

It's time that the spacecrafts be maintained and refueled by robots! NASA has tasted success in developing a technology which would empower future space robots to transfer propellants in satellites. NASA conducted test of the new technology which would allow robots to refuel the propellants in the tanks of satellites in space. These efforts are believed to be a part of technology development campaign which aims at enabling humans and robots to handle tools for spacecraft maintenance, repairs and other parallel tasks.

The Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) situated at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Md., checked a critical milestone with the completion of Remote Robotic Oxidizer Transfer Test (RROxiTT) in February 2014. The associate director of SSCO Frank Cepollina expressed that such innovative technology has been tested successfully for the very first time. RROxiTT would give much confidence to satellite community that advanced satellite refueling and maintenance is no more a dream and with this technology, it can be a reality in near future. With Robotic Refueling Mission, NASA has developed the ground-based RROxiTT which would enable robots to transfer hazardous oxidizer-a type of propellant. The task was difficult not just because of propellant being hazardous but also because it has to be carried at a flight-like pressure and flow rate into the mock tank of satellite.



The demonstration was carried out at NASA where a robot was remotely ordered to carry out the task. A robot operator situated at NASA Goddard in Maryland commanded a robot present at Kennedy in Florida to reach a satellite valve and transfer propellant in a mock tank. The demo continued for nine days and finally SSCO declared the victory. Check out the demonstration from image and video below.

The future of satellite refueling-

The main focus of SSCO was to develop technique to help satellites present at the Geosynchronous Earth Orbit. NASA believes that the use of RROxiTT would keep humans safe at a distance during hazardous operations. Do share your thoughts on this innovative technology in comments below.

Source: NASA Tests New Robotic Refueling Technologies | NASA


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