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Pico Satellite Swarms

Swarms of 'pico satellites' smaller than a softball are being designed to work as teams. A group small satellites, which each cost about $100,000 to build, could complement and expand the features of large satellites that are much more expensive.

A swarm of small satellites could perform activities that large satellites could not; for example, they could take multiple, distributed measurements of weather phenomena or the Earth's magnetic field.


(Benefits of multi-satellite systems)

A prototype of a pico satellite is shown below. The finished satellites will be about the size of a softball, and are scheduled to launch in 2009.


(Pico satellite and designer Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy)

This research project is headed by Norman Fitz-Coy, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Auburn University. The pico satellites are capable flying in formation dynamically.

These small satellites, able to maneuver autonomously and fly in formation, remind me of the buzz droids shown in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.


(Kenobi's ship covered with buzz droids)

From Roland.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/16/2008)

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