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What to do with a satellite that has reached the end of its useful life? Aside from keeping it around as a potential anti-satellite target for the U.S. Navy, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is investigating whether some of the components could be reused.Under the newly launched Phoenix program, Darpa is hoping to demonstrate the robotic removal of space apertures and antennas from decommissioned satellites in geosynchronous orbit. Getting there will require several steps. A key one is "developing a new class of small 'satlets,' or nano satellites, which can be sent to the GEO-region more economically as a 'ride along' on a commercial satellite launch, and then robotically attached to the antenna of a non-functional cooperation satellite, essentially creating a new space system leveraging the System F6 architecture." The F6 program aims at achieving missions using distributed spacecraft.Phoenix would also require a payload orbital delivery system to launch the satlets and a servicing satellite with robotic arm.DARPA has posted this video about the effort:
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