DARPA touts progress on Phoenix program to salvage dead satellites

DARPA made some bold promises last summer when it announced its Phoenix program to harvest dead satellites for still-valuable parts, but it didn't have much more than some concept videos to show at the time. It looks like the agency has been making some steady progress since then, though, and has today released a new video showing some of the work it's done up through November of last year. As you can see after the break, that work is all still being doing in the lab, but it covers quite a few of the components that DARPA ultimately hopes to use in space, including robotic arms and gripping mechanisms. Those tests will remain Earth-bound for the next few years, but a demonstration mission is slated for 2016 to see how the system fares on an actual satellite in orbit.