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DARPA envisions recycling defunct satellites


Keel M.
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Department of Defense is working on a robot that will recycle usable parts of defunct satellites.

Our growing space junk problem could become an orbiting spare satellite parts sale if DARPA has its way. The DoD’s research arm has launched a new program, appropriately titled Phoenix, to create new satellites from the decommissioned and dead satellites currently sitting idle in geosynchronous orbit some 22,000 miles above the Earth.

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  • Keel M.

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Well, let's see. Last week, we had NASA putting filling stations in orbit. This week, DARPA wants to recycle old satellite bits to save launch expenses. Sooo ... we take the money saved in payload for the satellites and use it to put fuel tanks in orbit so the orbital robot can keep running and I guess fuel/refuel the new satellites while it's at it.

Actually, I kind of like the idea of an orbital service robot or two upgrading, repairing or whatevering what's in orbit already *plus* being able to deorbit what's not salvagable in a controlled manner so it lands somewhere "safe" or heads out into space like toward the sun.

Or something.

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