Pentagon’s research wing, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), often comes up with the craziest of ideas. Yet most of these are viable and very important in scientific terms. The latest from DARPA is a new program called ‘Pheonix’ which aims to re-use parts of the old, discarded satellites to make new satellites.
So how does DARPA propose to accomplish this? Well, for now, the agency has awarded contracts to multiple companies to try and come up with such technologies which would help in this regard.
The idea that is currently running at the back of DARPA gurus is somewhat like this: a robotic mechanic will be pushed into the space where it will find out a given discarded satellite. It will then scavenge through the body of this old satellite and retrieve all usable parts.
Next, the agency will somehow launch mini-satellites to the space. These mini-satellites will be received by the robotic mechanic who would put them together into one large satellite by making use of the parts it retrieved from the discarded satellite.
The idea seems a tab bit fanatic at first, but the agency is hopeful that it can work very well in the long-term. The need to do it is summed by DARPA’s program manager as, “We’re attempting to essentially increase the return on investment … and try to find a way to really change the economics so that we can lower the cost of space missions.’
For now, the agency has dedicated some $180 million to test out new technologies which would help aid the Pheonix program. The actual implementation of the vision behind this program may still be a few years away but the idea is intriguing, nonetheless, and it may help cut down on the sheer amount of rubble in the space.
Courtesy: Fox News