The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, are hard at work, trying to find a way to make satellites less earth-shatteringly expensive, something called the Phoenix project.
They’ve come up with something that’s pretty much Wall-E, in space, in actual life. The plan is to have space robots pluck functional antennas off of dead satellites floating above geosynchronous orbit, and combine them with small, modular ‘satlets’ into new, longer lasting communications satellites. Pretty much like recycling, but using robots to do it instead of sending people up to space, which according to Dr. McCoy, is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence. Not something you want humans doing clean-up jobs roaming around in.
Maybe the geniuses at DARPA have found a solution to all the space junk floating around aimlessly at space, but the whole object of this project is to lower costs. The only way this eventually goes through is if it will bring the costs down far enough that it’s cheaper than just launching a whole new satellite.
If you’re not exactly a words person, and need some visual aids, DARPA have been thinking about you, with this video, informing us of the latest developments regarding the Phoenix project.