China’s National University of Defense Technology said June 30th that it had successfully refuelled an orbiting satellite. The satellite, Tianyuan-1, was launched into space on June 25th by a powerful Long March-7 rocket from the Wenchang launch site in Hainan Province.
The team say that a full series of tests were verified after the launch, and video images taken of the process.
Successfully re-fuelling communications satellites is seen as something of a ‘Holy Grail’, and a handful of ‘western’ satellite developers are working on solutions. A number of satellite operators, including Intelsat and SES, are also expressing strong interest in the technology.