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Why Build Big Rockets At All? It’s Time For Orbital Refueling

By Fraser Cain

On Tuesday, July 30th, NASA announced 19 different partnerships with 13 different companies to use their expertise to help them develop space technologies, from advanced communications systems to new methods of entry, descent and landing.

Instead of contracting out specific projects, NASA will make its employees, facilities, hardware and software available to these companies, for free.

One of the most notable of these partnerships will be with SpaceX and NASA’s Glenn and Marshall Centers to help advance the technology of transferring propellant in orbit.

In other words, NASA is going to help SpaceX figure out how to refuel a spacecraft while it’s in space. And if they can figure this out, it could completely change the way missions are launched and flown.

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