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Rocket Lab Is Using 3D Printing to Cut Costs on Satellite Launch

The company has its sights set on launching 100 satellites a year.

Image via Flickr user John Moffatt

Going into space used to come at the expense of billions of dollars, as well as years of research and development. Today, it costs roughly $50—100 million just to build a satellite, and an additional $40—50 million to blast it into orbit. Rocket Lab, a New Zealand corporation that has recently taken root in the United States, intends to use 3D printed rocket parts to bring those astronomical costs back down to earth.

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Solar Panels in Space! With the Help of Lasers, It's Possible.

Can we get electricity for Earth by putting solar panels in space? A new analysis suggests that one of the major problems can actually be overcome.

The scientist Peter Glaser first proposed the idea of putting solar panels in space back in the 1960s. It goes like this: You put satellites into orbit with solar panels on them. Sunlight hits the panels, making electric power. That electric power is then turned into microwaves and beamed to large "rectennas" on Earth that convert it back into electricity.

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The Satellite Sentinel Project: Preventing War Crimes with Real-Time Surveillance

Yesterday, South Sudan began voting on whether to secede. The result could touch off devastating violence. But this time, satellites will be watching.


On Sunday, the people of the semi-autonomous region of South Sudan began voting on a referendum to form their own country. If they do decide to secede, that could touch off another devastating war with the north.

To deter the kinds of war crimes that have occurred in Sudan in the past, a new effort called the Satellite Sentinel Project will use satellites to monitor the border between northern and southern Sudan. The resulting maps and imagery will be made public, online, in near real time. The idea is that, by focusing a public camera on the most volatile areas of the country, the Satellite Sentinel Project will make potential perpetrators of genocide think twice, and make a peaceful vote more likely.

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