One of the main advantages of using robotics is that they’re able to go into hazardous environments or work in places unreachable by people, which is they’re so useful to NASA. NASA has recently started a program that will employ robots to recycle dead satellites revitalizing some of the debris floating in orbit around the earth.
DARPA reveals plan to use robots to recycle satellites
by Bailey Johnson
Satellites don’t last forever. They’re expensive to launch, technically challenging to maintain and like all machines, they eventually putter out. But the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has an ambitious plan to service — and even recycle — satellites using robotics.
Today, when a satellite fails, it is a total loss. The satellite either burns up in Earth’s atmosphere or lifelessly orbits the planet until a replacement is launched. DARPA’s Phoenix program is a plan to change that cycle by sending robots to scavenge parts from dead satellites and attach them to miniature “satlets” to reuse.
The main item of interest for DARPA researchers is how to reuse the antennae of functionless satellites. While most satellites are uniquely designed to serve their particular function, certain pieces of the spacecraft could be recycled – including the antennae and solar arrays.
Read the full article here at CBS News.