June 16, 2024

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How college students built a satellite with AA batteries and a $20 microprocessor

With all the space junk cluttering our orbits, popular science He writesReducing costs while shortening the life of the satellite is important if space exploration and use are important Safe and viable.

Fortunately, a group of students and researchers at Brown University signed up Promising progress For both issues.

Last year, the team It was launched successfully A loaf of bread-sized cube satellite (or cubes) aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 A missile for a relatively low production cost of $10,000, with a significantly shorter lifespan estimated at only five years. What’s more, a lot of microsat are made with accessible, off-the-shelf components, like a $20 microprocessor powered by a 48 AA battery. All in all, SBUDNIC — a play on Sputnik as well as an acronym for the students’ names — will likely be the first of its kind to be made almost entirely from materials not specifically designed for space travel.

In addition, the kit has attached a 3D printed tow sail made of Capton movie They were revealed once the cubes reached orbit approximately 520 kilometers above Earth. Since it began tracking in late May 2022, the students’ satellite has already come down to 470 kilometers — far less than its fellow rockets aboard the Falcon 9, which are still about 500 kilometers up.

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