NASA just commissioned a spacecraft that can refuel satellites already in orbit


NASA has just commissioned a new type of spacecraft that will be able to refuel satellites while they’re still in orbit around Earth. Dubbed the Restore-L Spacecraft Bus, the vehicle will act like a traveling gas station, by meeting up with probes in orbit and filling up the satellites’ tanks. Such a spacecraft will make it possible for satellites to operate a whole lot longer in space than they were originally supposed to.

NASA won’t be making the entire Restore-L spacecraft on its own, though. That job is going to California-based satellite builder Space Systems Loral (SSL). NASA just awarded the company a $127-million contract to not only make the spacecraft, but supply additional services needed to get the spacecraft into space and…

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