San Francisco-based startup Orbit Fab is going to launch the company’s first operational ‘Petrol Pump’ built in space.
The company was founded to create “a thriving in-space market for products and services that support both existing space businesses (communications and Earth observation) and new industries like space tourism, manufacturing, and mining.”
According to Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) estimates, over 100, 000 satellites will be in orbit by the end of this decade. So for increasing the lifespan and to reduce the problem of space debris, these satellites need servicing and maintenance.
Orbit Fab’s first product is the Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface (RAFTI). Scientists foresee that this will significantly help in enhancing our telecommunications, surveillance, and weather analysis capabilities on Earth.
Some features of the RAFTI system:
- It will increase the life expectancy of spacecraft by refueling it while in orbit.
- The system is designed to operate at temperatures of -40 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 to 120 degrees Celsius)
- It will be able to accommodate a flow rate of 0.264 gallons (1 liter) per minute.
- The system can handle pressures of 500 to 3,000 psi.
- The propellants with which it can refuel satellites ranges from LOX/H2, nitrogen, helium, water, and alcohol.