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Nasa Grooming Satellite Repair-Bots

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NASA's Dextre robot

The Dextre robot is shown at work atop the International Space Station in June 2009. Soon NASA will use Dextre to test how well robots can perform satellite repairs.

Credit: NASA

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing satellite repair-bots to demonstrate the feasibility of refueling, repairing, and servicing spacecraft in orbit. Within 12 months the first demonstration mission will take place on the International Space Station.

NASA plans to use the Dextre robot to demonstrate autonomous orbital refueling. "We want to demonstrate our ability to get up there . . . and pass fuel into valves and into a receiving tank, and do this test in many configurations, many different times," says NASA's Frank Cepolina.

Dextre has already been used to test robotic servicing options for fixing the Hubble telescope. Techniques developed for the Hubble servicing experiment have been adapted for the space shuttle mission, boosting productivity of spacewalking service teams.

From Discovery News
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