Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created a number of designs to fulfil the dream of building a space station that can refuel rockets in outer space. A host of designs for fuel stations in the outer space have previously proven to be expensive with long–term investment.
MIT scientists propose to have fuel depots stationed at the Lagrangian point, a region in space between the sun and the earth as well as the earth and the moon that maintains gravitational equilibrium by allowing objects in the area to maintain the same relative position with respect to the three bodies. The design aims to refuel rockets for lunar missions but scientists aim to use rockets’ contingency propellant to build the depots’ reserve.
Each lunar mission carries a supply of propellant as a backup fuel, which in most cases, is unused or left on the moon or burnt while re–entering the earth’s orbit. This fuel can be stockpiled at the depot by the returning craft. It would eventually nullify the requirement of a huge payload to launch the extra fuel. The only challenge is to maintain and keep the depots within the Lagrangian point and prevent the fuel from boiling off.