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NASA and CSA Begin Testing Satellite Refueling On the ISS

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the trying-it-out dept.

NASA 65

Zothecula writes "NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) have begun practicing satellite refueling in space on a test bed outside the International Space Station (ISS). In a series of tests that started on January 14 and are scheduled to continue until the 25th, the two space agencies are using the Robotic Refueling Module (RRM) and Canada's Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, or Dextre, robot to carry out simulated refueling operations. The purpose of these tests is to develop refueling methods aimed at extending the life of satellites and reducing the amount of space debris orbiting the Earth."

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dangerous place to practice refueling? (2, Interesting)

schlachter (862210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676295)

Outside the ISS seems like the last place you'd want to practice refueling.

Re:dangerous place to practice refueling? (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676305)

Practice makes perfect. Perfect practice is even better, and that's harder on just a sim.

Why is Exxon-Mobil not involved ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676429)

It's the start of space refueling

Why is Exxon-Mobil not involved ??

Re:Why is Exxon-Mobil not involved ? (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676891)

It's the start of space refueling

Why is Exxon-Mobil not involved ??

Two words: Exxon Valdez

Re:Why is Exxon-Mobil not involved ? (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677121)

Oh, that's pretty slick.

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676593)

Maybe the ISS can earn its keep. I've never seen much real science come out of it, so maybe it is good for something else.

Re:dangerous place to practice refueling? (5, Funny)

xs650 (741277) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676487)

Outside the ISS is the next to the last place I would like to try it. Inside the ISS is the last place I would try it

Re:dangerous place to practice refueling? (-1, Redundant)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676567)

Outside the ISS seems like the last place you'd want to practice refueling.

No. Inside the ISS is the last place I'd want to practice refueling.

Re:dangerous place to practice refueling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676649)

Reading comprehension -1
"simulated refueling operations."

Re:dangerous place to practice refueling? (3, Informative)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678307)

Outside the ISS seems like the last place you'd want to practice refueling.

The simulated "fuel" is ethanol. So no one, particularly the Russians, are complaining.

Re:dangerous place to practice refueling? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679369)

The simulated "fuel" is ethanol. So no one, particularly the Russians, are complaining.

I dunno, in an accident losing that much vodka to the vacuum of space would be a disaster!

Re:dangerous place to practice refueling? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42681219)

"Mission control, we have an...err...fuel leak <glug glug glug>. The robot was lost! Could you please send up another, and some olives?"

rasputin (0)

nucleofide (2821461) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676323)

robots and their brain
the 22nd they will be
centuries later concurred

Predicting it now!

Re:rasputin (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679119)

robots and their brain the 22nd they will be centuries later concurred

Predicting it now!

Erm... 47?

It's about time... (0)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676351)

Space exploration's rapid advancement is only made more viable if we give up this hokey notion of manned flights. Sure, one day suspended animation will be more of a scientific certainty, but these bots can explore and make ready for human exploration a host of off-planet locations.

Re:It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676521)

What the hell are you talking about?

Re:It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676683)

You do realize that this has absolutely nothing to do with that, right? At most this would permit the fueling of ships in orbit. Other than that, it has absolutely no connection whatsoever with those sorts of deep space expeditions.

Also, it's not hokey, without sending people into space, have you any idea how hard it would have been to convince people to send robots? Or how much further behind we'd be at this stage had we waited until we could send robots?

Also, sending humans hasn't caused us to stop sending robots, we've managed to send probes outside the solar system, so I'm not sure how much more progress you're expecting.

Re:It's about time... (-1, Flamebait)

nucleofide (2821461) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676769)

You don't see this?

Sending robots instead of humans was a drastic step, Instead of the exploratory expanse and progress of humanity we have deemed robots as a worthwhile endeavor and extension.

Please... God tell me you are an american democrat? Your stupidity will be excused as a child's.

Re:It's about time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676847)

But thinking space is just a kind of Wal Mart is the hallmark of intelligence...

Re:It's about time... (1)

nucleofide (2821461) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676993)

space.. it HAS.. it MUST be the walmart

Re:It's about time... (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677161)

Since God won't reply, allow me to assist.

You are an American democrat.

Satisfied?

Simple answer - and why would you bother? (0)

hamster_nz (656572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676509)

Design a replacement satellite with a bigger gas tank.

Re:Simple answer - and why would you bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676907)

And what will you do with that bird that's already in orbit? Let it become even more debris that will contribute to the hazards of further space exploration?

Re:Simple answer - and why would you bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42677767)

I imagine the alternative would be to deorbit it.

Re:Simple answer - and why would you bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42687881)

Which requires fuel.

big deal (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676543)

Let me know when I can refuel my Mazda without pulling off the road.

That would be so badass, if there were like these rolling tankers, with the special hose and fittings so you could just drive up next to one, right, like the fighter planes do, and then refuel and just keep rolling.

I'd never stop, except to pee and get more cans of pringles and 2 litre bottles of Coke. Hell, if I had enough empty pringle cans and 2 litre bottles of Coke, I wouldn't have to even stop to pee! And if you lived on pringles and coke you wouldn't have to do anything BUT pee, so you'd have that going for you.

Damn, I love the future...

Re:big deal (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676581)

You can do it today.

But I suggest a catheter instead. Either that or get an RV with cruise control.

My kingdom, my kingdom for some mod points (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676761)

I get pretty ambivalent about moderating; I get mod points and half the time they expire or go unused. I'm sincerely pissed I have no mod points right now for you. And not just because some other jackhole moderator modded your +1 funny *down*. Whatever happened to metamoderation? I feel like I haven't seen links in a while for it.

Re:My kingdom, my kingdom for some mod points (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42680829)

Glad you don't have any, because the OP sure as fuck is not funny. People like you are the problem, you fuckwit.

Re:My kingdom, my kingdom for some mod points (1)

hawkfish (8978) | about a year and a half ago | (#42681153)

You, sir, have a tin ear. The phrasing was so perfect, I nearly choked on my carbonated beverage.

Re:big deal (2)

CoolGopher (142933) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676787)

Dude, if you're refuelling on the go, surely the tanker could also sport a chute for dropping more pringles and coke through the side window*?

*) I'd suggest opening the window first though.

Re:big deal (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683713)

Genius. The next step is fitting a Coke tank and a hose to feed it to you. Maybe even some pre-chewing of the pringles... Then you wouldn't even need to open the window, there'd be a similar hookup to the fuel tank.

Re:big deal (1)

turgid (580780) | about a year and a half ago | (#42684243)

And what about a rag on a stick for personal hygiene?

Re:big deal (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676873)

If you lived on nothing but pringles and coke you would be pissing out of your ass.

Re:big deal (1)

ediron2 (246908) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677713)

Already been done -- Anyone remember that 'olestra' stuff? Inverted-molecule fat for fat-free pringles? Stuff died a dismal market death when word came out that it tended to cause 'rectal leakage'. Or, as Dave Barry said: "Warning! BUTT DRAINO!"

Re:big deal (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42686329)

I LOVED that warning. Anyone who eats something that says "May cause anal leakage" deserves what they get coming.

Re:big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42677651)

electric vehicles powered and/or recharged via a powered roadway are not that far off.

Re:big deal (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679387)

I'd bet all the money I have that powered roadways will never see the light of day (not counting electric street car wires as are currently in operation).

Re:big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42679129)

If you have pringles cans, why do you need to stop to pee?

Re:big deal (1)

RNLockwood (224353) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679721)

You forgot the windshield washing service.

BTW do Pringle cans hold liquids? The necks of Coke bottles are way too small for me. Well, whatever works for you.

Re:big deal (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about a year and a half ago | (#42683727)

The necks of Coke bottles are way too small for me.

You and your unreasonably large penis are about to find yourself with a bit of a problem.

Oh thank god... (4, Funny)

Jhon (241832) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676625)

CSA is the Canadian Space agency! I thought I took a nap and woke in a Turtledove-esq alternate universe where the south won the civil war and were in space!

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676953)

CSA is the Canadian Space agency! I thought I took a nap and woke in a Turtledove-esq alternate universe where the south won the civil war and were in space!

My first reaction was something like "Oh. The Canadians have a space agency?"

Have they launched anything? What have they done? I ask this without intending any disrespect -- but if they've got some accomplishments under their belt then they need a better PR machine.

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

Jhon (241832) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677053)

Three words:

Space Shuttle Robotic Arm.

Ok... four words...

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677133)

Space Canoes.

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677297)

That's not three words either. "Strategic maple reserve"?

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677705)

You have to figure in the exchange rate.

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677445)

Space Mounties, yo!

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677493)

Have they launched anything? What have they done? I ask this without intending any disrespect -- but if they've got some accomplishments under their belt then they need a better PR machine.

Note to Canadians - try writing the word 'Canada' in even larger letters on vital components of NASA's manned space programme [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

mooingyak (720677) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678079)

Have they launched anything? What have they done? I ask this without intending any disrespect -- but if they've got some accomplishments under their belt then they need a better PR machine.

Note to Canadians - try writing the word 'Canada' in even larger letters on vital components of NASA's manned space programme [wikipedia.org] .

Starts with a 'C', ends with 'a', has the words 'Made In' next to it.... about the only time Canada gets mixed up with China.

Re:Oh thank god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42679415)

I told those hosers they shoulda painted the outer thirds of the arm section red and put a stripe of three maple leafs around the center! But nobody listens to me eh?

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679975)

Note to Canadians - try writing the word 'Canada' in even larger letters

We wouldn't want to dimish the

U
S
A

+ Stars and Stripes that was on the Saturn V.

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678635)

The commander of the ISS, currently in orbit and staring down at you as he does so, is Chris Hadfield -- fighter pilot, test pilot, engineer, CSA astronaut, guitar player ... and Canadian.

Re:Oh thank god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42679419)

Looks like he is also a Trekkie.

Seriously. Check the exchange of tweets between Cmdr. Hadfield and... *the* William Shatner:

"@Cmdr_Hadfield Are you tweeting from space?"

"@WilliamShatner Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we're detecting signs of life on the surface."

UPDATE: William Shatner opens hailing frequency to Chris Hadfield aboard ISS - Your Community [www.cbc.ca]

Priceless :-D

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42679841)

I first thought it was the Confederates too. If they had won, they would have the launching site at the Cape, and the North would be at a disadvantage.

However JFK wouldn't have been shot so he might have continued the exploration of space.

Re:Oh thank god... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682617)

I first thought it was the Confederates too. If they had won, they would have the launching site at the Cape, and the North would be at a disadvantage.

However JFK wouldn't have been shot so he might have continued the exploration of space.

Of course not. He would have been just another yankee journalist, and would never have made it into the Montgomery political scene.

The next stair down on the steps to tragedy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42676711)

I'm not sure how many others see this, but cost cutting and thinning of the safety net, in my opinion, are heading us toward an ISS disaster. This may not be the step that takes it right into the problem, but it's somewhere near the bottom of the stairs.

Re:The next stair down on the steps to tragedy (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677319)

Indeed. It's quite clear how slightly less plush retirements will lead directly to disaster on the ISS.

Taking it easy? (1)

lkernan (561783) | about a year and a half ago | (#42676753)

People complain the electric car takes 8 hours to charge. This thing takes a week to remove the fuel cap!

I hope ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42677049)

... they have worked the bugs out of refueling in space since they tried it in Armageddon.

"Deedee, get out of my Canadian la-bor-a-to-ry" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42677251)

Quote from the CBC version of that Cartoon Network classic, Dextre's Laboratory.

This just proves... (1)

Genda (560240) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678237)

There will be no escaping Exxon-Mobil!!!

Science and Technology (1)

shembekar (2811485) | about a year and a half ago | (#42678483)

This blog is much more interesting & helpful, I too have blog http://goo.gl/yYLUw [goo.gl] .

Canadian Space Agency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42680473)

Take off, you hoser!

New Meaning for ISS (1)

bradorsomething (527297) | about a year and a half ago | (#42682323)

International Shell Station?
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