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Waspie_Dwarf

Space Station’s Small Satellite Launcher

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Meet Space Station’s Small Satellite Launcher Suite

It used to be that building and launching a working satellite was an enormously expensive and complex undertaking, feasible only for governmental and military agencies. But the CubeSat revolution of the past decade has placed satellite technology within reach of private companies, universities and even unaffiliated individuals. That revolution has been boosted by the existence of the International Space Station, which provides an additional launching platform enabled through regular commercial cargo flights.

CubeSats are a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure about 4 inches on each side, have a volume of about 1 quart and weigh less than 3 pounds.

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Animation of Station's Cyclops Satellite Deployer

This animation shows how the Cyclops Deployment System launches satellites in the 50 to 100 kg class from the International Space Station. Cyclops is set to launch in mid to late 2014 on a SpaceX-4 resupply mission.

Credit: NASA

Source: NASA - Multimedia

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Now that is cool.

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