Refueling Satellites in Space, With the Help of a Robot

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 10:40 in Astronomy & Space

Many technologies that are essential for daily life -- from communications to GPS navigation to weather forecasting -- rely on the thousands of satellites that are orbiting Earth. When those satellites run out of gas and stop working, there's not much that can currently be done to fix them. It's a costly, time-consuming, and increasingly problematic reality as broken-down satellites become part of the growing population of space debris. A team of researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, led by Wen, are working with NASA on a solution: a robot that could capture a satellite in space and pull it in to dock, where it would refuel.

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