Darpa Robots Will Turn Dead Satellites Into a Zombie Orbital Array

By Andrew Tarantola

Launching satellites is a risky proposition—costing as much as $10,000 a pound to make orbit and little recourse if a critical piece malfunctions. So, Darpa has devised a system to recycle the $300 billion worth of orbiting dead satellites into a zombie antenna array.

The Phoenix system, as it has been dubbed, consists of a primary Tender/Servicer satellite and multiple smaller mini-satellites called “Satlets.” As the plan goes, after the Tender has reached geosynchronous orbit (GEO), the Satlets are launched aboard a commercial communications satellite from which the Tender will collect them and store them on-board itself.



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