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Satellite

The ionic motor developed at EPFL is designed to extend the capabilities of the new genera...

Researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have created a prototype mini motor designed to extend the capabilities of the new breed of small satellite. The motor weighs roughly 200 grams (7 oz) – including the fuel and control electronics - and could be used to change the orbit of small satellites, or even propel them to more far flung destinations that would usually require larger, more expensive spacecraft.  Read More

A swarm of laser-wielding satellites could be used to nudge an asteroid off a collision co...

A collision between Earth and an asteroid a few kilometers in diameter would release as much energy as the simultaneous detonation of several million nuclear bombs, and with the impact of an asteroid estimated at around 6.2 miles in diameter believed to be responsible for wiping out the dinosaurs, numerous strategies have been devised to try and avoid such devastation. The latest idea comes from engineers at Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde who suggest that a swarm of laser-wielding satellites could nudge Earth-bound asteroids off their collision course.  Read More

A prototype of the new Lockheed Martin Space Fence radar system is currently tracking orbi...

A prototype of the new Lockheed Martin Space Fence radar system is currently tracking orbiting space objects smaller than was ever possible - down to about a centimeter in size. In doing so, it met a key contract requirement during a series of demonstration events by proving it could detect and track such small objects.  Read More

SeeMe would provide eyes in the sky quickly to troops on the ground (Image: DARPA)

DARPA, the United States' defense technology research agency that's created such notable projects as the Internet you're using right this moment, is now looking for help in creating a swarm of "disposable" eyes in the sky. It is seeking technical assistance from a wide range of fields - from auto racing to optics - to create the means to provide on-demand satellite imagery for troops on the front lines.  Read More

The Robotic Refueling Mission module is successfully transferred from the Atlantis shuttle...

Repairing and refueling satellites robotically may seem rather mundane, especially when compared with moon landings, Mars rovers and the Hubble space telescope, but NASA's two-year Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) experiment, now underway on the International Space Station (ISS), turns out to be surprisingly complex. Designed to demonstrate that servicing working satellites with remotely-controlled robots is a feasible option, NASA, in conjunction with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), initiated the first of several RRM test tasks just a few days ago and the results look very promising.  Read More

A depiction of CleanSpace One, closing in on an expired picosatellite

NASA currently monitors approximately 17,000 pieces of space junk that are orbiting the earth at extremely high speeds. These odds and ends consist of things like dead satellites, spent rocket stages and parts that have broken off of spacecraft. As the amount of junk increases, it becomes increasingly difficult for functioning satellites to avoid colliding with it. When collisions do occur, the satellite is often destroyed, with the resulting debris further adding to the problem. Scientists from Swiss research institute EPFL, however, have decided that enough is enough – they’re currently developing a small satellite known as CleanSpace One, which will be tasked with grappling expired satellites and pulling them back to Earth.  Read More

Onur Hamza Karabey and his prototype liquid crystal antenna

Vehicles such as cars, ships and aircraft need to stay in stable contact with earth-orbiting satellites, in order for on-board functions like GPS, internet access and satellite television reception to work properly. As the vehicles move, their orientation to those satellites changes, so electronically-redirectable phased-array antennas are typically required. According to scientists at Germany's Technische Universität Darmstadt, however, these are "either very expensive or only sluggishly redirectable." That's why doctoral candidate Onur Hamza Karabey is working on a low-cost, fast-performing alternative - a liquid crystal antenna.  Read More

The SatPlus Sat Chair is the equivalent of a 60cm traditional satellite dish

Want to install a satellite dish at your home but can't due to a building regulation or uncooperative landlord? Hiding an in-built dish and LNB, the SatPlus Sat Chair will let you pull in those satellite signals and the landlord will be none the wiser. The chair can be installed on a terrace, balcony or anywhere else you want to install a satellite dish without breaking any rules - although it might look out of place on the roof.  Read More

The DeLorme inReach can be paired via Bluetooth to an Android device, for added functional...

Whether they involve hiking, paddling, pedaling or climbing, multi-day backcountry wilderness trips can be very rewarding. For some of us, however, there’s always that one worry – what if something happens and no one knows where to find us? A cell phone likely won’t do much good, as coverage isn’t available across about 90 percent of the planet. A satellite phone would do the trick, but they tend to be quite expensive. That’s where DeLorme’s new inReach device comes into play ... just think of it as a satellite-enabled panic button.  Read More

One of the Sprite nanosatellites (Photo: KickSat)

Pssst, do you wanna buy a satellite? No, really – do you? Well, Zac Manchester would like to sell you one. Not only that, but he claims that the thing could be built and launched into orbit for just a few hundred dollars. For that price, however, you’re not going to be getting a big satellite. Manchester’s Sprite spacecraft are actually about the size of a couple of postage stamps, but they have tiny versions of all the basic equipment that the big ones have.  Read More

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