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Satellite Weight

The Boston Globe today features a Massachusetts-based company that’s changing the way satellites are designed and deployed. Payload Systems Inc. is building a system of small satellites that can be programmed to cluster, separate, and fly in formation.

Using infrared and ultrasound signals, as well as carbon dioxide jets, the small satellites can detect the location of other similar satellites and operate in coordination. It’s a neat idea. Instead of thinking about satellites — or any object launched into space — as large, largely stationary objects, Payload’s approach is smaller, more mobile, and cooperative.

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