US Military Making Space Robot To Recycle Dead Satellites

The US military is working on a solution to the mass of dead satellites surrounding the Earth. The Pentagon is currently working on a space robot that would harvest and reuse dead satellites. The project is called the Phoenix program and is being run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

DARPA began the project in July. A separate on-orbit "tender" satellite is also expected. This one would arrive in the GEO orbit, then would be able to work on other satellites in space. DARPA is targeting 140 dead satellites still in orbit in hopes of being able to recover their antennae.

Should the program be successful, it will help point the way to a more self-sustaining future where satellites can be modified and repaired while in orbit. The technology would help reduce the cost of maintaining US satellites.