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Communications

UT Student-Built Spacecraft Separate and Communicate 102

BJ_Covert_Action writes "Some students from the Cockrell School of Engineering in Austin, Texas have built, developed, launched, and operated two historic satellites. The FASTRAC satellites make up the first small-scale satellite system which is composed of two separate spacecraft that can communicate to each other. On March 22, the single FASTRAC satellite successfully separated into two smaller spacecraft that are currently operating and communicating with each other. While separation and communication has occurred between paired satellites before, this is the first time it has been done with such a small platform (the FASTRAC spacecraft weigh approximately 60 lbs.). Furthermore, this is the first time a student-designed and built space system has been composed of two separate spacecraft that can interact with each other. One of the most impressive things about this mission is that it was done incredibly cheap, at $250,000, which is far below the costs associated with traditional spacecraft."

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