Sign-up to receive weekly Space email updates with news, commentary, photos, videos and more!
Comprehensive insight, context and analysis of technologies, business developments and operational trends in every segment of global aviation and aerospace.
Aerospace Daily & Defense Report is relied upon for the latest, critical intelligence on programs, budgets and policies in defense, as well as military and civil space.
Incentives can be important drivers of innovation. See how prizes are spurring change.
Check out articles, white papers, interactive features and more.
Learn about new manufacturing technologies that are helping to boost performance and cut costs.
View articles from Aviation Week publications and white papers and views sponsored by Makino
Up on the International Space Station, Canada's two-armed robotic 'handyman', Dextre, is involved in a three-day R&D mission to demonstrate how space robots could refuel satellites to extend their life on orbit.Photo: Canadian Space AgencyThe Canadian Space Agency is cooperating with NASA on the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), which supports both its Next-Generation Canadarm program and on-orbit satellite servicing development work by Vancover-based MDA. Using four specialized tools provided by NASA, Dextre will demonstrate how to access the fuel system of a typical satellite"With this unique RRM toolkit (including a Wire Cutter and Blanket Manipulation Tool, Multifunction Tool, Safety Cap Removal Tool and Nozzle Tool), Dextre will cut through the simulated satellite’s exterior, remove layers of insulation and cut away the wiring covering the fuel cap. In the next phase of the operation, the robotic handyman will connect a hose to the fuel valve and pump simulated liquid fuel into the mock spacecraft," says the CSA.Concept: Canadian Space AgencyOn Day 1 of the mission (Mar. 7), perched on the end of Canadarm 2, Dextre retrieved, inspected and stowed three of the four specialized tools. Today, it will perform "the most intricate task ever attempted by a space robot," says CSA -- sliding a miniature hook under a wire with surgical precision.Early this year MDA scrapped plans to collaborate with Intelsat on in-orbit satellite refueling, citing a lack of commitment by potential customers, but it continues to bid for spacecraft repair missions. Meanwhile Vivisat, formed by US Space and ATK, are continuing development of the Mission Extension Vehicle, which would dock with operating satellites that have run out of maneuvering fuel and act as a back-up propulsion system to extend their life on orbit.
os99, NASA, CSA
Copyright © 2013, Aviation Week, a division of McGraw Hill Financial.