The NASA Robotic Refueling Mission 3 (RRM3) is a critical project aimed at advancing satellite servicing capabilities and supporting long-duration deep space exploration. This mission addresses the issue of spacecraft consumables, such as propellant and coolant, which are essential for maneuvering and equipment maintenance but eventually deplete.
RRM3 is the third phase of the Robotic Refueling program, which builds upon the successful technology demonstrations of the first two phases on the International Space Station. These earlier phases tested tools, techniques, and technologies for refueling and repairing satellites in orbit.
RRM3 takes a step further by introducing technologies required for storing and transferring super-cold cryogenic fluids. The mission began in December 2018 and was originally planned for a two-year stay on the space station, with the goal of achieving its objectives within the first year. Despite an issue in April 2023 that led to the venting of cryogenic fluid from the module, the mission remains on track to demonstrate cutting-edge technologies for transferring cryogenic fuel in space. This mission is a significant step towards enabling satellite servicing and supporting deep space exploration missions.