It seems like it was just yesterday when ASTRO and NextSat took to the skies galaxy in hopes of making their creators proud, but now the time has come for the two to wind down and sip exotic liquids from an umbrella-adorned glass. Thankfully, this story has somewhat of a gleeful ending, though it wasn't looking so rosy just days ago; on June 27th, the two parted ways and managed to drift some seven-kilometers apart before ASTRO used its onboard camera system (and a bit of help from ground control) to navigate back to NextSat, where it then proceeded to give its space-bound buddy a theoretical noogie. Sadly, this final scenario marks the final test in DARPA's Orbital Express demonstration, which means that the two machines now have an ominous decommission plan to look forward to.

[Via NewScientist]

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ASTRO, NextSat reunite once more as Orbital Express concludes