So, here is a question. When a satellite is damaged, how does one fix the satellite safely? People have seen plenty of movies with people making space repairs and the worst-case scenario happens. Some type of space rock strikes the satellite, sending our fearless engineer flying into the dark abyss of space. However, in reality, we prefer measures to be much more calculated. In order to preemptively have plans to repair outside damages to a satellite, researchers have been trying to pinpoint what could be done. A team at the University of Cincinnati has a plan. Professor Ou Ma is attempting to engineer robotics technology to enable repairs of a satellite from another satellite.
Robotics is no new innovation. People have been trying to establish robotics in every fashion of life. This obviously includes space as well. Ou Ma, the professor from the University of Cincinnati, dreams of a day where satellites that are orbiting the Earth will be able to repair each other. His plan is to have these satellites robotically dock onto the opposing satellite. Once docked, the satellite will begin refueling and repairing the damaged one. Satellites are nowhere near inexpensive. So, when there are actually issues and repairs need to be done, these plans may become extremely pricey. No one wants to take the bill for a damaged and unrepairable satellite.
When Will This Technology be Active?
Technically, this technology is still very much so in the workbook. They are running tests through theoretical situations that would prove similar to real time. In specifics, imagine trying to catch something that is spiraling through space. Not only is it spinning at its own rate, but your satellite is also moving at your own rate. So, these two have to perfectly align. After the alignment occurs, the satellites need to grapple on to each other with enough force to cease movement, but not cause damage. They are thinking a minimum of ten years until real time testing may be done.