Star Wars Weapons
Synchronized Position Hold Engage 
Re-Orient Experimental Satellites
Source: NASA

The International Space Station has played host to a clutch of mini-satellites

These mini-satellites are football-sized devices that are part of a project called Synchronized Position Hold Engage Re-Orient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES).

This trio has been used to test control programmes that allow satellites to fly in formation with minimal human intervention. Individual space satellites could be co-ordinated to make powerful telescopes.

Better control procedures could also enable spacecraft to dock autonomously, an ability that could be useful for assembling objects in orbit.

MIT students testing the SPHERES satellite prototypes aboard NASA's zero-gravity aircraft. In those tests, air turbulence posed some difficulties, as the plane was jostled around, but that won't be a problem in the upcoming space station tests. (Photo courtesy of NASA.) 

Though regarded as one of the most capable SDI systems, the Brilliant Pebbles program was canceled in 1994 by the BMDO. However, it is being reevaluated for possible future use by the MDA.

SOURCE: The International Space Station has played host to a clutch of mini-satellites

Related Links:

SPHERES A Space Odyssey 

Youtube Link
SPHERES Mission Patch
Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES)
Three satellites fly in formation as part of the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient,
Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) investigation. Credit: NASA
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