Space gas station.  The Americans are building a distributor in orbit

The United States wants to increase its freedom to operate in the orbit of our planet. For this purpose, they intend to build a space facility to supply military fuel to satellites. This will solve one of the main problems that limit the capabilities of this device.

The winning proposal was developed by Northrop Grumman, which designed the space equivalent of a dispenser from which satellites would be able to draw fuel through a new type of standard conductor (PRM, passive refueling module), common to all satellites operated by SSC.

Indication of the preferred interface It will enable unification, thanks to which many manufacturers will be able to build space equipment capable of using SSC infrastructure in orbit. Why is the Space Systems Command decision important?

Refueling satellites in orbit

In this way, the Americans solve one of the fundamental problems that limit the ability of satellites to operate in Earth's orbit. While most of these types of objects move in fixed orbits using propulsion Mainly to correct the situationMilitary satellites need the ability to maneuver – for example, to get close to another satellite, steal data, or cause physical damage.

Visualization of the GAS-T space fuel station

Visualization of the GAS-T space fuel station© Northrop Grumman

The problem is that maneuvers quickly exhaust fuel, without which more effective operations become impossible, and the satellite becomes expensive disposable equipment. There is also the issue of the properties of the fuel itself, which is usually very dangerous, which is toxic hydrazine.

Therefore, SSC is working to create a space facility where it can be stored safely Fuel supply for satellites It operates in geosynchronous orbit.

A project development order for an installation called GAS-T (Geosynchronous Auxiliary Support Transporter) has been awarded to Northrop Grumman – the space fuel station is intended to store up to a ton of hydrazine in orbit, and at the same time enable servicing work to extend the life of satellites.

Lukasz Michalek, journalist at Wirtualna Polska

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