DARPA Wants to Recycle Space Junk Into New Satellites
An intuitive way of getting rid of our space junk
The United States Department of Defense is looking for ways to repurpose space junk thousands of miles above Earth back into valuable satellite parts, or even completely new spacecraft.
The military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has started a program called Phoenix, which seeks to recycle still-functioning pieces of defunct satellites and incorporate them into new space systems on the cheap.
The Phoenix program aims to use a robot mechanic-like vehicle to snag still-working antennas from the many retired and dead satellites in geosynchronous orbit — about 22,000 miles (35,406 kilometers) above Earth — and attach them to smaller “satlets,” or nanosatellites, launched from Earth.