Friday, March 1, 2013

Harvesting Space Junk

DARPA is toying around with the idea of trying to salvage space junk and re-purpose old parts on dead satelites. Appropriately code named Phoenix, the project is in early planning stages and I'm interested to see how well it works out.

It makes a certain amount of sense, because when a satellite fails it's usually just one or two crucial components that become non-functional or it runs out of fuel. That means that most of the components are still fully functional, so being able to reuse the tech without launching an entire new satellite would be a big help.

I have no problem believing that they can capture, dock with, and salvage the parts. I'm skeptical though about their ability to reuse them given the complexities of wiring them together. Old satellites aren't exactly plug and play.

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