In the old days there were satellites

Space junkBringing old satellites back to life

Often an empty tank simply ensures that an otherwise still intact satellite ends its mission. This is why some companies and satellite operators dream of a gas station on the go or a repair service in space.

The idea sounds good, but it is difficult to implement. Because for refueling, a satellite would have to dock with the failed satellite. This is very difficult, as experts say, for an object that does not cooperate.

If something goes wrong with the first attempt at docking, the satellite will tumble uncontrollably. The tank opening must also be easily accessible to refill the fuel - and today's satellites are usually not designed for maintenance in space.

So far, the Hubble Space Telescope is the only satellite that has been regularly serviced (ESA / NASA)

More complicated repairs, such as replacing electronic components, are usually only possible with people on site - which is extremely expensive, however. The use of robots in the weightlessness of space, with no solid ground under your feet, is extremely demanding.

The problem of space debris will intensify massively over the next few decades. Because the thousands of satellites that are planned for future communication networks are produced in series and are relatively inexpensive.

Repairing it in space will not be worth it. It may eventually perish from your own rubbish.