Thursday, November 21, 2013

Record for multiple satellite launches lasts one day

Last night, an American Minotaur 1 carried 29 satellites, almost of them the tiny type called CubeSats, into orbit.  Today, a Russian Dneper launcher carried up 32.  Interestingly, both launchers are based on retired ballistic missiles. 
This isn't just a numbers game.  Earth has put up more satellites in two days than in the first four years of the Space Age.  We are in a second Space Age - one where college and high school students routinely work on satellite hardware, and a kid with a soldering iron and a credit card can order a satellite kit and become his own space agency.  The launch demand is still not being satisfied nearly as cheaply as we'd like: the CubeSats can cost $100,000 to get a single kilogram into orbit.  There's major room for improvement. 

1 comment:

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