Recycling is becoming more and more important in many industries due to cost of materials and a number of other factors. That is precisely why, this week, DARPA announced that they will soon be entering the recycling world in a completely revolutionary way.
DARPA’s plan for recycling involved satellites that are no longer in use or have failed in some way. The idea is simple, take off any and all parts that might be usable or valuable and rebuild them to be reused. Unfortunately the hard part is that they’re going to be doing all of this work while the dead satellites continue to orbit earth. DARPA is hopeful that their robotics designs will be able to accomplish the task and if they do it may save billions of dollars on future space endeavors. Currently a number of components no satellites cost hundreds of millions of dollars in some cases, by recycling these parts NASA and other agencies will be able to save significant amounts of money.
No word yet on when DARPA hopes to actually start the recycling, but at this point they’re eager to get started. There are apparently as many as 200 satellites that are considered prime targets for this program and will likely be approached first.