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Study Offers Satellite Retriever Design

Associated Press

An electric lasso, an extension arm, some type of gripper, even a giant potholder have been suggested as means for retrieving expensive, wayward satellites from space, according to a NASA study.

Under a contract to Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Martin Marietta has completed a one-year, $150,000 study called “Recovery of Tumbling Satellites” for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The company examined several ideas for a recovery kit that could be attached to the front of the space agency’s Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle, a 15-foot-diameter, remote-control spacecraft being designed by TRW for operation in the early 1990s.

The remote-control vehicle would gradually bring the satellite under control, then would tow it back to the shuttle or the planned NASA-international space station for repairs, a spokesman said.

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