29 September 2021
A refueling aircraft, developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, made its debut at Airshow China 2021 in Zhuhai. The aircraft can provide an energy guarantee for the long-term operation of satellites in orbit. The designer said the satellite can carry 1.3 t of fuel at a time, more than half of its total weight. It can cut costs by 35 % compared with re-launching a satellite.
The aircraft is equipped with an automatic driving function. When a satellite sends a message, the aircraft can autonomously track and approach the satellite using navigation systems. When it reaches within about 2 m of the satellite, it will be connected to the refueling port to deliver fuel.