News FocusTechnology

Shoebox-Sized Space Probes Take to Orbit

Science  07 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5416, pp. 897-899
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5416.897

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Summary

Technological finesse and the search for cost savings are spawning a new generation of "nanosatellites," weighing only a kilogram or so. A hundred or more of these tiny spacecraft, at a cost of half a million dollars apiece, will swarm through the magnetic fields and trapped particles near Earth during NASA's Magnetospheric Constellation mission, planned for 2007. Other NASA nanosatellites may soon hitchhike to Mercury on a macrosatellite, carry crystal-growth experiments in low Earth orbits, or fly in formation to study Earth's atmosphere from above.

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