Imagine a time in the future when gassing up your spaceship in space is like filling your car on Earth. NASA scientists are currently developing the first fueling station in space. This station will make it possible for satellites to re-charge, refuel and get serviced while orbiting the planet.
Most satellites are solar powered but they still need fuel to stay in orbit. So what happens when a satellite runs out of gas? They become space junk. The debris of the satellites will become useless while floating in space. NASA wants to make it possible to refuel these dying satellites while they are still in orbit, thus the new fueling station concept. At the moment, there are about 242 satellites in space that will run out of gas within the next five to six years. Currently, when a satellite is launched, they are fueled and permanently sealed on Earth.
The Canadian Space Agency has developed a two-armed robot named “Dextre” to help out with NASA’s problem. The two-armed robot will be on board the International Space Station and will make it possible to, theoretically, refuel these satellites. Engineers on Earth in Houston, Texas will manually be able to control Dextre with everything he needs to do to repair these low-fueled satellites. If Dextre is successful for NASA, then the space agency can encourage private businesses to take up this practice.
It would be as if NASA were developing an AAA for space travel.