|Space shuttle Endeavour astronaut Andrew Feustel lubricates the snares on the end effector of the International Space Station's DEXTRE robotic arm during his spacewalk in this file image from NASA TV. (REUTERS/NASA TV/Handout)
A Canadian robot named Dextre achieved a major milestone this weekend when it successfully refuelled a mock satellite on the International Space Station's exterior.
The Canadian Space Agency said the "handyman" bot made "space history" by completing the task.
"Topping off the satellite's fuel tank was the pivotal task in the experimental Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM)...to demonstrate how robots could service and refuel satellites on location in space to extend their useful lifetime," the agency said in a statement.
"In this latest set of operations, Dextre removed two safety caps, cut through two sets of thin retaining wires, and finally transferred a small quantity of liquid ethanol into the washing machine-sized module."
The space agency called RRM "a significant step in pioneering robotic technologies and techniques in the field of satellite servicing — saving ailing space hardware by refueling or refurbishing them before they become space debris."