Cubesats could change the space industry

(ORDO NEWS) — The first image (below) is a low-resolution image of Mars taken by NASA‘s MarCO-B (Mars Cube One “B”) experimental cubesat* from a distance of 7,600 kilometers during its flyby of the Red Planet on November 26, 2018.

MarCO-B (image below) and its twin MarCO-A were sent to Mars along with NASA’s InSight lander to test two things:

  • Cubesats can be used as low cost repeaters (communications equipment connecting two or more radio transmitters) to provide reliable communications between a spacecraft and the Earth ;
  • Cubesats could be used as cheap and fast-launching self-contained spacecraft that could be sent to different parts of the solar system, including, for example, the orbits of various satellites of the gas giants.

Cubesats could change the space industry 2

MarCO-B and MarCO-A, having become the first ever cubesats outside the earth’s orbit, proved that they can act as repeaters and independent spacecraft.

Cubesat is a format of ultra-small satellites, the dimensions of which can be only 5 × 5 × 5 centimeters, and the mass does not exceed 250 grams (cubesat of the PocketCube format).

MarCO’s twin Cubesats measured 10 x 20 x 30 centimeters and weighed approximately 13.5 kilograms each.


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