How would 2 or more satellites be joined to reduce atmospheric drag? Could a 3rd satellite tow and join 2 or more satellites that are in similar orbits to prevent Kessler syndrome?

At the very least could the inert satellites in be collected and connected into a cluster loosely welded together by a third satellite?

From Comments The picture looks like a cage which is magnetized to collect satellites no longer in service.

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  • $\begingroup$ Necropolis $\endgroup$ – JCRM Apr 29 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @JCRM good find! This would make a good answer. $\endgroup$ – Muze Apr 29 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ A cage which is magnetized to collect satellites would not work, satellites contain very few iron, too few to be attracted by magnetic fields. Light materials like aluminium alloys are prefered. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Apr 29 at 21:29
  • $\begingroup$ @Uwe maybe just wire and lasso it? $\endgroup$ – Muze Apr 29 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sure I've referenced this paper in an earlier answer in this stack. The paper suggests several methods for attaching the satellites recovered, I don't recall magnetism being one of them. $\endgroup$ – JCRM Apr 29 at 23:50

Possible but unlikely.

If you want to join satellites securely than you need to add some kind of docking mechanism to the satellites and that adds a lot of complexity at which point you can just have thrusters to dodge debris or counteract the drag.

Additionally I think having more satellites bunched up in one area means that if a collision happens there will only be more mass to contribute to space debris or a Kessler syndrome.

The same goes for inactive satellites as a deorbiting maneuver (or a transit to a graveyard orbit) would be an easier and better way to deal with inert satellites.

There are even mission from ESA clean space to actively remove satellites from orbit.


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