March 16, 2023

Satellite powered by 48 AA batteries and a $20 microprocessor shows a low-cost way to reduce space junk

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2023-03-18 01:30:04

March 16, 2023

Common sense suggests that space missions can only happen with multimillion-dollar budgets, materials built to withstand the unforgiving conditions beyond Earth's atmosphere, and as a result of work done by highly trained specialists.

They built a satellite on a shoestring budget and using off-the-shelf supplies available at most hardware stores. They even sent the satellite—which is powered by 48 Energizer AA batteries and a $20 microprocessor popular with robot hobbyists—into space about 10 months ago, hitching a ride on Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket.

Now, a new analysis of data from Air Force Space Command shows that the satellite not only successfully operated, but could have far-ranging impacts on efforts to cut down on the growing problem of space debris, which poses a potential danger to all current and future space vehicles.

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