ASTRO satellite hooks spacecraft up with fuel whilst orbiting

Launching a few birds into space is quite a feat in its own right, but pumping hydrazine fuel into an orbiting counterpart autonomously is really something to be proud of. Just about a month after launching the two unmanned crafts into space, the ASTRO satellite "successfully pumped vital hydrazine fuel into its NextSat counterpart as part of Scenario 0-1, the first in a series of increasingly challenging tests." The machines are currently taking part in the series of Orbital Express missions, and apparently, things are on the up and up thus far. Future tests are slated to include "autonomous undocking, proximity operations and re-docking," as well as installing a battery on NextSat with its robotic arm. We can't wait to see what happens when one of the two gets testy about refueling after hours, but we sure hope the galactic battle is somehow caught on tape.

[Via Digg]