We’re pretty good these days at getting Satellites up into orbit, but working on them once they’re up there is much trickier; you’ve got to organise space flights, remember to bring a packed lunch and fiddle around with tethers and that oh-so-distracting view. A new breed of micro-satellites could do away with the need for human intervention at all.
The satellites are the product of UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology, and use off-the-shelf consumer technology — in this case, Microsoft’s Kinect sensors to allow them to hook up to other satellites already in space. The idea is that you launch a whole bunch of these satellites up there, at which point they self-assemble by detecting where they all are in a swarm. The ultimate aim is for these tiny satellites to become the building blocks for other, larger spacecraft, all at a considerably lower cost than conventional space vehicles. [The Register]