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Tech Brief: Using Swarms of Small Satellites for In-Space Manufacturing

With the emergence of a new space-to-space servicing sector, along with the return of manned missions beyond low earth orbit, there is an increased need for quick, efficient, and most of all, safe Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO). An additional next big step forward may be true manufacturing in space, which could take advantage of swarms of small satellites cooperating in close proximity to each other, all subjected to the same laws of orbital mechanics. Currently, there is a lack of knowledge about how to safely operate a swarm of spacecraft in close quarters in a dynamically changing environment (i.e., a “space construction site”), without creating a high risk of collision and/or potential debris creation.

Tech Brief