The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) plans to show that a robotic vehicle can remove the antenna from a retired spacecraft in graveyard orbit, and attach systems to it to rebuild a functioning geostationary communications satellite, in an orbital demonstration planned for 2016. Begun in July last year, the four-year, $180 million Phoenix program aims to “increase the return on investment for Defense Department space missions by really lowering the cost,” says David ...

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