Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM)
Why Demonstrate Robotic Satellite Servicing?

America has seen NASA land on the moon, fix the Hubble Space Telescope and roam on Mars' landscape—but they have yet to see NASA robotically repair and refuel a satellite in space. The Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) is the first step to making routine on-orbit robotic satellite servicing a reality.

Every year, functional satellites providing weather data, communications and other essential services are retired because they reach the end of their fuel supply. But robotic refueling is quite challenging. Before a satellite leaves the ground, its technicians fill its fuel tank through a valve that is then triple-sealed and covered with a protective blanket—a design that was never intended to be accessed again.

RRM paves the way for future robotic servicing missions by demonstrating that the technologies and techniques exist today to allow a remote-controlled robot to overcome these obstacles and refuel a satellite on orbit. This revolutionary investigation may one day substantially impact the many satellites that deliver products that Americans rely upon daily.

Credit: NASA

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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