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Autonomous repair robots launched into space


Few things set our geek pulses a-purrin' like DARPA sponsored projects, robots, and outer space. So combining the three into last night's launch of the Orbital Express had us hopping and clapping like little girls in pink party dresses. Built for DARPA, the pair of satellites were launched to demonstrate the feasibility of autonomously servicing satellites in space. Yeah, autonomous as in no human interaction, unless there's a problem with the sensors, passive detection systems, and computer software requiring mission control to intervene. Both the robotic-arm equipped ASTRO servicing satellite and smaller NextSat target will be orbiting our blue planet for the next three months testing autonomous rendezvous, refueling, and component replacement. A successful mission would pave the way for a fleet of both commercial and military vehicles for use in repairing or providing an orbital boost to general-use spacecraft while allowing recon satellites to maintain position longer. We're pretty sure that last bit has some generals jumping and clapping as well.

Read -- Satellite launch
Read -- Orbital Express

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