12.02.2013 — Engineers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida are partnering with counterparts at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland to develop systems to bring potential future robotic “service tow trucks” to orbiting spacecraft in need of aid. Operating under Goddard's Satellite Servicing Projects Division's (SSPD) technology development effort, the project is now moving into the next phase with a team at Kennedy developing a reliable and accurate prototype high-pressure propellant transfer assembly using lessons learned from recent testing.
11.26.2013 — at the NASA Asteroid Initiative Idea Synthesis Workshop held in Houston, Tx. on September 30 and November 20-22, 2013. Deputy project manager Benjamin Reed delivered presentations on Trades Affecting Mission Resilience and Extensibility [PDF] and EVA Systems, Robotic Systems and Simulation [PDF]. Systems manager Bo Naasz presented on New Partnership Approach and Potential Partnership Opportunities [PDF].
11.20.2013 — To commemorate ISS's incredible achievements as a test bed for technology research and development, we present this 2011 image of the spacewalk that transferred NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) module to ISS during STS-135, the final flight of the Shuttle Program. Since its arrival, RRM has been demonstrating the robotic tools, technologies and techniques needed to refuel and repair satellites in orbit — particularly "legacy" satellites, spacecraft that weren't designed to be serviced. #ISS15
08.05.2013 — The Japanese H-II Transport Vehicle successfully launched from the Tanegashima Space Center on August 4, 2013, with new Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) hardware on board. The spacecraft is scheduled to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Friday, August 9.
08.01.2013 — The Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle-4, currently scheduled to launch on Aug. 3, 2013, EDT will deliver new RRM hardware to the International Space Station. Following the success of completing its namesake refueling task in 2013, RRM will be flexing its robotic capabilities to demonstrate how space robots can replenish cryogen in the instruments of "legacy" satellites: existing, orbiting spacecraft that were not designed to be serviced .
07.18.2013 — The award was presented on July 17, 2013, at the second annual ISS Research and Development Conference in Denver, Colorado. SSPD's Jill McGuire, project manager of RRM, accepted on behalf of the team. “Receiving this award is a great honor as we are among so many deserving and valuable technology and scientific payloads on ISS,” said Mcguire. “We are proud to demonstrate the endless possibilities of satellite servicing technologies through the use of innovative robotic tools and techniques. We look forward to continued collaboration with our partners at the Canadian Space Agency in showing the world the maturity and breadth of robotic technology, as well as providing a sneak peek into the future on-orbit satellite refueling, repair and repositioning.
7.17.2013 — SSPD's Jill McGuire is presenting NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) at the Second Annual International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Denver, Colorado. The event provides attendees perspectives on a variety of research and technology development opportunities aboard International Space Station. Ms. McGuire will speak on the success of RRM demonstrations to date and discuss plans for the second phase of RRM operations.
06.18.2013 — After four days of tests on a zero-gravity airplane, the NASA satellite servicing team alighted with a wealth of data on the design of an innovative flexible fuel hose for robotic satellite refueling. Tests conducted June 4-6, 2013 placed the three-member team and the unique device through 120 twenty-second sessions of weightlessness, giving the team multiple opportunities to observe and measure the static and dynamic behavior of the hose in a microgravity environment.
06.04.2013 — Two assistants help during the flexible host conducted June 4-6, 2013 on a zero-gravity airplane. Data collected during the series of 20-second tests in microgravity will help the Satellite Servicing Projects Division in designing a host that is maneuverable yet strong enough to transfer corrosive satellite fuel on orbit.
05.24.2013 — On June 3, 2013, three satellite servicing team members will board a zero-gravity airplane to test the design of innovative flexible hose for satellite refueling. Here engineers Matt Sammons (SSCO, Goddard Space Flight Center) and Syrus Jeanes (Kennedy Space Center) hold up a fixture that will hold the hose. A mechanism at one end will "push" the flexible hose once the team has entered into microgravity. A series of cameras and sensors will then document how the hose acts.
05.24.2013 — Dr. Edward Cheung, lead electrical engineer of NASA's Satellite Servicing Projects Division, looks on as data transfers from the flexible satellite refueling hose to his computer. Sensors on the hose will help Dr. Cheung and his team track the device's movements during June 2013 zero-gravity testing funded by NASA's Flight Opportunities Program.
05.24.2013 — Dr. Edward Cheung, Syrus Jeanes, and Matt Sammons (left to right) pose in front of the flexible satellite refueling hose they will test during a series of zero-gravity flights June 3-6, 2013. Jeanes, a structural analyst at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), is working on hose management for a propellant transfer system being developed by KSC in conjunction with SSPD. Dr. Cheung, lead electrical engineer of the Satellite Servicing Projects Division (SSPD), and Sammons, lead designer of the Robotic Refueling Mission EVR Nozzle Tool, are responsible for designing and testing a hose capable of transferring corrosive material while retaining maneuverability.
05.10.2013 — With , caps removed, screws unfastened, thermal blanketing manipulated, and tools stowed back in the module, the RRM team has successfully completed its May 2013 operations! This marks the end of the first phase of RRM tasks, with new task boards, tools, and set of activities to be launched this summer. Get more information about this latest round of operations , and stay tuned for news on future RRM operations!
05.06.2013 — The team has successfully checked off two more servicing tasks: SMA (or "Subminiature A") cap removal and screw removal. These tiny caps and fasteners, when removed, would give a servicer access to a satellite's internal systems for more extensive diagnoses and repairs. Learn how all of this was accomplished with a single tool by exploring our list of tasks!
04.30.2013 — The Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) team is poised to tackle another round of robotic satellite servicing tasks on the International Space Station on May 1-2, 6 and 8. After extensive preparations on the ground, robot operators from Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center will deftly guide the Station's Dextre robot in space to use the specially designed RRM tools to remove and detain small screws, retrieve and safely stow tiny caps, and straightly slice through satellite blanket tape.
04.11.2013 — The next round of Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) operations, following the first-of-its-kind refueling task in January, have been set for May 1-2 and 6-7, 2013 on the International Space Station. The team plans to use the Dextre robot on Station to complete another set of satellite servicing tasks with RRM's specially-designed tools, including the manipulation of a sample of thermal blanketing and removal of small caps and fasteners. Dextre's robot operators (ROBOs for short) from Johnson Space Center visited the Goddard Satellite Servicing Center at the beginning of March 2013 to study and discuss the details of these robotic maneuvers.
03.26.2013 — The servicing payload of the notional Restore Servicing Mission received passing marks from the panel of its System Requirements Review after two days of presentations at the end of March.
03.21.2013 — The Satellite Servicing Projects Division brought some goodies to the Robert H. Goddard Memorial Symposium on March 20-21 to share the latest accomplishments and upcoming tasks of the Robotic Refueling Mission. Thanks to everyone who joined us!
02.08.2013 —Team members took a swim the first week of February 2013 at the University of Maryland's Neutral Buoyancy Research Facility to study the behavior of a flexible hose in a watery environment - a state that closely mimics the zero-gravity dynamics of space. Data gathered from this engineering evaluation is helping SSPD shape designs for a unique hose that could be used to transfer fuel to a satellite in space.