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DARPA's shooting robots into space to build satellites

RATE THIS! +34
Posted in Science on 8th Apr, 2014 01:07 AM by AlexMuller

It might be cold in outer space, but the place is pretty hot right now, at least in the tech world. So much so that the homerun hitters of tech have decide to start building things out there. Not building things to send to space, but actually building things in space. NASA’s going to use enormous 3D printing spiders to build spacecraft in space.

 

Meanwhile, DARPA, known lately for not building a giant death ray, has the Phoenix program, which recently finished Phase 1 testing.

 
The purpose of Phoenix is to send robots into outer space with everything they’d need to build satellites. Then have those robots build said satellites. It would be an entire restructuring of how we build satellite fleets.
 
Robots would put together 15-pound modular satellite architecture called satlets. These would contain a power supply, controls and sensors, all in a Payload Orbital Delivery, which is a fancy name for a pod that'll be shot into outer space.
 
During Phase 1, it was proven that this idea will work, and it could change the way our space programs are run. But what’s the point, exactly? You’re still shooting things into space, so isn’t it six or one half dozen the other? The answer to my own question is a resounding NO. It’s far cheaper to shoot out satlets.
 
It would cut down on the developmental lead-time and they’ll be repairable or upgradable while they orbit around the earth. Currently, satellites are basically unreachable, so you shoot ‘em up there, and you’re stuck with what you’ve got.

Tags: spaceDARPAsatelliterobotrobotics

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-08
+3
Good progress for robotics and 3D printing, and of course for DARPA - it is good to see new technologies applied to make work cheaper and easer Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-08
+3
DARPA Phoenix program looks great. I hope DARPA will start building these robots and that Phase II will stat soon!
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-08
+2
Yes, advantages would be great. "Phoenix could help satellites reach new or proper orbits, inspect satellites as part of routine maintenance or troubleshooting efforts, repair or replace worn-out components, or add or upgrade capabilities." These capabilities would enable space systems, for the first time, to have the flexibility, accessibility and resilience that designers of terrestrial systems take for granted Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-08
+1
It is good for DARPA to have this kind of projects. Now when Google is rejecting military funding for its advanced humanoid robots and develops its own high-reward technology lab, Google X.
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-08
+1
Google is becoming a leading international force with visions of its own - at least this would be a great image to have. Of course, any links with the US military would not fit here Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-08
+0
Well, we have to admit that many of Boston Dynamics’ robots-now part of Google- have been developed with funding from the US Department of Defense’s research unit, Darpa, making Google a military contractor. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-04-08
+0
Boston Dynamics’ robots are very advance. I found that among the creations to crawl, jump and gallop from its labs are Big Dog, a four-legged robot that can clamber over uneven terrain and Cheetah, which claims to hold the record for the fastest legged robot in the world. Reply
Reply


 

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