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After initially announcing the Phoenix program in October 2011 the R&D behemoth that is DARPA has more news relating to their Wombles in Space Program. Read the previous Highpants article “The Borg Satellites of DARPA’s Phoenix Program” for further background.
DARPA’s Phoenix program for the uninitiated involves construction of special class of utilitarian satellite that would service, repair and recycle already orbiting satellites. With so much of our modern world reliant on satellites DARPA’s Phoenix program could have huge implications for many industries.
The Phoenix satellites have lofty goals ahead of them. Being able to build new satellites from parts donated by decommissioned space junk is just the beginning. They will need to display a Wombles level of crafty in order to recycle, as well as repair satellites with spare parts from old satellites. Phoenix is an ambitious and audacious plan, all to be executed like a ballet at 20,000 miles high.