Usually, when satellites are retired from active duty, not all components are damaged or at the end of their life spans. However, when critical systems go, so does the entire spacecraft. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has a plan to take advantage of the situation.
The organization plans to build what it refers to as satlets, small satellite platforms capable of latching onto decommissioned vehicles. Once secured in position, they scan their target, identify equipment that is still operational, and use robotic arms to extract whatever it can use.
The end goal of harvesting spare parts from satellites is assembling new, operational spacecraft directly in Earth's orbit. DARPA announced on Wednesday, July 25, that is already signed contracts covering satlets development with several companies.
Due to their reduced size, numerous satlets could be transported on the same rocket, or they could be used as fill-up cargo on delivery systems with room to spare. This approach would provide great value for a small cost, Space