Artist's concept of a servicing satellite (Image: NASA)
NASA astronaut Mike Fossum holds the Robotics Refueling Mission unit (Image: NASA)
Technicians in protective gear test satellite refueling pump hardware (Image: NASA)
Geostationary satellites cost a fortune and, despite their sophistication, they break down or eventually run out of propellant to keep them oriented. This is unfortunate when the nearest garage is back on Earth, so NASA wants to remedy this with an orbital version of roadside service. The space agency is developing a service robot that can visit ailing satellites and refuel or even repair them on the spot.
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