This makes sense from an economic point of view: satellite launch costs tens of millions of dollars, but in 5-10 years it becomes a waste. To date, of the 1,300 large space objects in Earth orbit only 500 – is operational satellites. In the short space of useful sites and designs that can be reused.
In the video, released DARPA, shows how you can use the exhaust satellites. At the initial stage of the program Phoenix robot approaches the dead satellites, grab his handlers, cut the antenna and attach them small communication modules. Thus scrap of space satellites will be made workable. First experimental space mission of this kind is planned in 4 years. Subsequently, robots Phoenix can perform more complex reconstruction.
The main components of the current phase of the program Phoenix (total – $ 180 million) are the manipulator FREND and capture device based on electrostatics and microfibers. The manipulator must be cut off satellite dishes of different types, with the capture of the satellite should be carried out using a special technology without the use of mechanical parts. Meaning "sticking" to the surface by electrostatic discharge and microfibers like hairs on a gecko lizard legs.
Work on the proof of concept will be carried out to Phoenix in 2015, and the following month DARPA will announce the next stage of research – on a mix of old antennas with new mini-satellites.