That is what NASA is hoping
The American space agency is banking on the idea that less may be more when it comes to space exploration. In recent years the powers that be at NASA have decided that the big massive rockets may not be cost-effective.
Millions have been spent on developing and building spacecraft that can only be used once. Even most satellites cannot be reused once they have finished their tour of duty. Some end up in the satellite cemetery 500 miles east of New Zealand.
It turns out size does matter
Funding has become an issue for many government projects. NASA is no exception to this issue. Their money has to be spent wisely. The researchers there have spent the better part of two decades developing satellites that are very small in size. The cost to develop and build them is a fraction of the cost it takes to build, say Voyager 1.
The one feature that will be missing from these satellites will be the engine. They will have to piggy back a ride into space and be launched once they are out of Earth’s gravitational pull.
This is only a test
After almost 20 years, NASA is getting ready to send the first two briefcase-sized satellites into space. Their duty will not be to orbit the Earth but make their way to Mars. While they will not be conducting any experiments or other important research, this test is needed to see if all the bugs have been worked out.
These tests are important to make sure all the equipment will work as planned. This includes their batteries. The batteries will help the satellites display their solar panels and switch on the radios.
No matter the expense, test flights are needed to make sure researchers have taken the right steps and did their jobs correctly.
Less may be more
If the tests are successful, then the small spacecraft may usher in a new era of downsizing. Humans won’t be let go, but spacecraft will become smaller. Space agencies may rush to see who can develop the smallest viable spacecraft that is functional and useful.
Plus, the expense of sending developing, building and operating the spacecraft will shrink as well. Governments who provide the funding will be happy to save the money. They will be able to divert some funds to other needy projects.