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Satellite-Saving Robots Can Turn Killer, Too

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The most sophisticated satellites can cost more than $1 billion to build and launch. Yet all that money and technology hasn't been able to buy something every car owner takes for granted: on-demand repairs and tune-ups.

Now, thanks to years of development by governments and private companies, outer space satellite servicing is becoming a reality — and a business.Just this month, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, announced that a robotic repair arm it developed will be ready for launch in 2025.

By then, it will be just the latest advance in satellite tune-ups, ready to help clear a path through the growing accumulation of space junk orbiting the earth.That's good news for satellite owners and the businesses and consumers who rely upon them.

But these technologies are also a cause for concern. Militaries, in particular, worry that orbiting machines designed to repair satellites may also be used to attack them.

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