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Exploration

Starship Precursors Conduct Orbital Test Flight

By Keith Cowing
July 26, 2017
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Starship Precursors Conduct Orbital Test Flight

In Quest to Reach Alpha Centauri, Breakthrough Starshot Launches World’s Smallest Spacecraft
“Breakthrough Starshot, a multi-faceted program to develop and launch practical interstellar space missions, successfully flew its first spacecraft — the smallest ever launched. On June 23, a number of prototype “Sprites” – the world’s smallest fully functional space probes, built on a single circuit board — achieved Low Earth Orbit, piggybacking on OHB System AG’s ‘Max Valier’ and ‘Venta’ satellites. The 3.5-by-3.5 centimeter chips weigh just four grams but contain solar panels, computers, sensors, and radios. These vehicles are the next step of a revolution in spacecraft miniaturization that can contribute to the development of centimeter- and gram-scale “StarChips” envisioned by the Breakthrough Starshot project.”
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NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.