Space Robotics

Satellite Repair Robot Launched into Orbit

Posted 13 Mar 2007 at 20:13 UTC by steve Share This

The Swirling Brain sent us a link to a CNN story about the launch of a prototype autonomous satellite repair robot. There are actually two robots involved, known together as Orbital Express. The first is the refueling and servicing robot called ASTRO, which is loaded with 300 pounds of hydrazine propellent and includes a manipulator arm and docking mechanism. Inaddition to refueling, the robot can also replace electronics modules aboard satellites. The other robot, called NextSat, is a demonstration prototype of a next generation onorbit-servicable satellite. The $300 million demonstration vehicles were built by Boeing as a joint venture between NASA and DARPA. The goal is to find a way to extend the life of future civilian and miltary satellites. There will be a series of tests to demonstrate autonomous proximity operations and docking, refueling, and servicing procedures. For more details see this week's NASA news release about the mission.

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