CITO In Space

Space-Junk-bee-hiveGeocachers have always been environmentally conscious … and now that belief has been transferred to the satellite realm’s nasty little (not-so) secret  – the enormous pile of space junk from leftover satellites and rockets.

That’s right, DARPA – the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency at the Pentagon – is spending US$180 million to conduct the first CITO in space!

When satellites retire, certain parts – such as antennas and solar panels – often still work. There’s currently no routine effort to salvage and reuse satellite parts once they’re launched into space.

DARPA thinks it can save money by repurposing in orbit.

“We’re attempting to essentially increase the return on investment … and try to find a way to really change the economics so that we can lower the cost” of military space missions, said DARPA program manager David Barnhart.

One of 140 retired satellites will be the first to undergo treatment in this galactic recycling programme,  when the first test mission gets underway in 2016.

To get an idea of what’s involved, check out this animation from DARPA:



1 comment

  1. GSV

    It all started so innocently.

    Darpa launched the Big Orbital Recovery Gatherer and the assemblage that was put together from all the parts found that strength was irrelevant and technological distinctiveness from the different satellites certainly would be adapted to service the Collective.

    Resistance is futile.

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