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Thread: Catching a satellite in orbit - GIF

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    Jon
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    Catching a satellite in orbit - GIF

    Catching a satellite in orbit. Although I guess it could be reversed, and the satellite is being released. Either way, still cool. Low Earth orbit? So they're both traveling around 17,000 mph, relative to an observer on the planet surface?



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    I'll vote for the reversed launch GIF guess.

    I can't think of a good reason for retrieving a satellite in LEO. If you want to get it out of the way to reduce space clutter (a worthy motive), let its orbit decay into the atmosphere and let it burn. AFAIK, none of the LEO sats have nuclear generators so incineration doesn't pose any major problems.

    The "catch" is too perfect. It's unlikely that the vehicle with the arm could adjust its orbit so perfectly to that of the retrieved satellite. I would expect a slow approach of the two objects and a bit of jockeying before attaching.
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    Marv,
    Actually capture of satellites Is a fairly common practice for repairs. Far cheaper to repair than launch a new one, Take the Hubble telescope for example it has been captured and repaired 3 times that I know of.
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    That video is greatly sped up, so perhaps any jockeying for position isn't evident.
    That robotic arm is called the Canadarm2 and is used by the ISS to capture supply ships amo. That may be a supply ship in the video as it looks somewhat like SpaceX's Dragon capsule. Another version of the Canadarm was mounted on the Space shuttles which was used for building the ISS, capturing and releasing satellites and inspecting the heat shield tiles before re-entry of the Shuttle. Canadarm2 is the ISS version.
    Canadarm2's Cosmic Catches - Canada.ca


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