Education & Science

NASA: One Step Closer to Spacecraft Refueling Technology in Space

Scientists at NASA recently tested one of three instruments for refueling spacecraft in space.

In terms of space missions and launches, fuel plays an extremely important. The integrity of a rocket and even, in some cases, the safety of a human crew depend on the quality and maneuverability of the fuel.

At the moment, the refueling of missiles that have missions in outer space is accomplished by attaching them to the International Space Station. In the future, the ability to fuel into space, without the need for coupling to International Space Station may prove vital to the success of next space exploration missions.

In preparation for such a scenario, NASA began designing systems that would allow such a maneuver and recently tested Robotic Refueling Mission 3 outside the International Space Station. This facility has managed to attach a special adapter that can withstand the passage of super-cold methane, oxygen or hydrogen through to another fuel tank, notes Futurism.

Scientists and engineers from the North American Space Agency have pointed out that transferring fuel from one tank to another at extremely low temperatures involves the risk that a slight rise in temperature will lead to fuel evaporation. NASA found this out after a real test, when a technical problem led to the heating of cryogenic tanks. When this error was observed, complete fuel ventilation was required to eliminate any risk.

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