Canada to launch nano-satellites

Feb. 23, 2013 at 1:06 PM
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TORONTO, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Canadian space program officials say the planned launch of two lunch box-sized satellites show "you can do really exciting things in space" on a small budget.

The BRITE nano-satellites, set for launch Monday, are designed to measure the brightness of stars and learn more about how stars work, CBC News reported.

The satellites -- 7.8 square-inch aluminum cubes that weigh about .24 ounces each -- will be sent into orbit aboard an Indian rocket at Satish Dhawan Space Center in India, the report said.

"I think we're showing that you can do really exciting things in space without the big budgets that people tend to associate with space programs," said Cordell Grant, satellite systems manager at the Space Flight Laboratory at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, where the two satellites were created.

Each of the satellites cost between $1 million and $2 million to make -- compared to the $150 million cost of the International Space Station.

"There's a lot of interest in the space community in general in what can be done with smaller satellites because as economic times are tighter, then people tend to look at space programs that are spending a lot of money and say how can we avoid spending that money but do useful things," Grant said.

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