NASA Tests New Technologies for Robotic Refueling

GREENBELT, MD (NASA PR) — It’s corrosive, it’s hazardous, and it can cause an explosion powerful enough to thrust a satellite forward in space. Multiple NASA centers are currently conducting a remotely controlled test of new technologies that would empower future space robots to transfer this dangerous fluid — satellite oxidizer — into the propellant tanks of spacecraft in space today.

Building on the success of the International Space Station’s landmark Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) demonstration, the ground-based Remote Robotic Oxidizer Transfer Test (RROxiTT) is taking another step forward in NASA’s ongoing campaign to develop satellite-servicing capabilities for space architectures and human exploration.


NASA Releases RFI for On-Orbit Robotic Spacecraft Servicing

Installation of NASA"s Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) module aboard the International Space Station. RRM will to test technologies for the romote serviicing of satellites. (Credit: NASA)

NASA has released a request for information (RFI) on the development of on-orbit robotic servicing capabilities for spacecraft.The RFI seeks information from U.S. companies on three potential models:

  1. Government partners with a competitively selected commercial company to develop the technology, with the commercial Partner assuming responsibility for the purchase/cost, and therefore ownership, of all flight hardware.
  2. Government issues a competitive solicitation for on-orbit satellite servicing for Government-owned satellites and pays fixed amounts for the services.
  3. Private companies develop this technology on their own with no access to government technical expertise; if requested and deemed appropriate, government IP would be made available on a non-exclusive basis subject to export restrictions.

The full RFI is reproduced after the break. Responses are due on Jan. 4. For more information, visit here.