Refueling Mission Spacecraft Project Wins NASA Approval with $127 Million Payment

Refueling Mission Spacecraft Project Wins NASA Approval with $127 Million Payment

NASA has selected a California-based company for Refueling Mission Spacecraft project which could be ready within three years. California-based space technology company Space Systems/Loral will setup a robotic space station which will refuel satellites in orbit. NASA has awarded $127 million contract for Restore-L Spacecraft Bus that will work like a traveling gas station. The project will help satellite missions to run for longer period as they will be refueled by Restore-L Spacecraft Bus.

Space Systems Loral (SSL) is engaged in space technology and satellite building. The company will work with NASA engineers to develop the system. The company will also offer additional services in running the space station for two years after its launch. NASA’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division at Goddard Space Flight Center has partnered with Space Systems Loral for this ambitious project.

Lifespan of satellite mission is limited currently as they carry limited amount of fuel. With refueling, the satellite missions will be able to reduce their running costs. Satellites will be able to run for many more years in future. This will also improve return on investment for each satellite project. The space station developed under this project will have the ability to automatically setup a connection with satellites in lower-Earth orbit.

The mission could be ready for launch in year 2020 if everything goes as per plan. NASA has been working increasingly with private space technology companies for its space missions.

A report published by Space News informed, “Restore-L is intended for launch in 2020, after which NASA will direct the spacecraft to dock with Landsat-7 in low Earth orbit for a test flight. Landsat-7 launched in 1999 aboard a Delta 2 rocket, and will have been in orbit for more than two decades based on current mission timelines.”

A Daily Caller report further informed, “Funding for the gas station will come from the space agency’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and from NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.”

NASA has been under pressure to reduce cost of its space missions. In the recent year, the budget allocated for space projects has been debated.

In an official release, NASA said, “Space Systems/Loral will provide spacecraft bus, critical hardware and services for the development, deployment and operations of the Restore-L mission. They also will provide related services to accomplish mission integration, test, launch and operations.”

The Satellite Servicing Projects Division at Goddard was established in 2009 to continue NASA’s 40-year legacy of satellite servicing and repair. Restore-L is a free-flying mission projected to launch in 2020 to perform in-orbit satellite servicing on an operational government asset in low-Earth orbit.