Goddard engineers have successfully completed their third robotic refueling test on ISS, using the Canadian dual robot arm Dextre.
The operation were controlled from Goddard, using a variety of robots to view, inspect, and complete the operations remotely. The goal is to demonstrate robotic engineering that can later be used to repair and service a variety of already orbiting satellites.
One detailed mentioned at the very end of the article I thought very significant and did not involve robotic refueling: It appears this project also
…successfully stored liquid methane for four months with zero boil off, demonstrating a system which will dramatically lower fluid loss and eliminate the need for oversized tanks and extra propellant.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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