Liberty enlightening the world, both on it and in space.
Last week SpaceX successfully completed its 22nd launch in 2022, sending 59 smallsats into orbit with its Falcon 9 rocket.
In the past few decades, the launch of a smallsat would generally have not merited much further coverage. These satellites, almost always based on the 10-centimeter (or 4-inch) square cubesat design, had generally been short term objects built almost always by university students not so much to do space research as to simply learn how to build satellites and learn how they operated in orbit.
This has now all changed, fueled both by the immense drop in launch costs generated by the competition between the new rockets built by SpaceX and the new emerging smallsat rocket companies (Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit, and Astra) and by the improved capabilities of miniaturized components. Cubesats can now do far more despite being tiny, and they can be launched for much less money.
The result has been wonderfully illustrated by the satellites launched last week on that Falcon 9. Below is a short list of the press releases in the past few days, announcing the successful activation of these satellites:
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