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Cubesats to the planets!

Link here. The article is a good detailed overview of the many upcoming planetary missions that are using small and relatively inexpensive cubesats as either part of their mission, or are the mission itself.

This trend also partly explains the number of new rocket companies like Rocket Lab and Firefly Space Systems that are developing small rockets aimed at launching cubesats. These companies have recognized a growing demand, and are trying to serve it. As the article notes,

Lifts are so hard to come by that the first interplanetary CubeSat — NASA’s twin INSPIRE mini-spacecraft, intended to test key technology for future missions — has been waiting for almost two years. “We still have to find a ride,” says Anthony Freeman, who manages the Innovation Foundry at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3 comments

  • I have to wonder how many cubesats a Shuttle could have boosted. With some 23,000 kg in payload launch capability, my guess would be ‘quite a lot’.

  • Alex

    Charles Pooley (R.I.P.), a forerunner for another kind of space exploration.

    Forget his microlaunchers idea, but recognize his “The case for a New Generation of Very Small”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtTeG_HElNk

  • Localfluff

    23,000 cube sats in a swarm would be a mess. A single 23,000 kg heavy large satellite would certainly be more rational. The problem with cubesats as secondary payload is that they can’t get to where they would want to be. Still fine for many applications, but dedicated launches á la Pooley’s microlauncher idea would be great. As long as small sats depend on large launchers, their potential is not fully realized. Light sails will maybe solve that problem. Hayabusa 2, not mentioned in the article, is on its way and will use a whole set of daughter probes, hopping rovers, explosives, cameras, navigation beacons you name it. It’s a whole little army.
    Animation:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kyyfYbGYnE

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