Nano-satellites dominate space and spread spies in the skies

The International Space Station, in orbit 400km above Earth, is turning out to be a useful launch platform for small satellites. They are brought up in batches and later released into somewhat lower orbits where they could not collide with the ISS. The ISS deployed 49 satellites in 2015 and 36 so far this year, according to the Space Foundation. Most are launched from a special CubeSat deployment device developed by NanoRacks of the US for the ISS. “There is a tremendous backlog of small satellites waiting to be launched,” says Mr Walter-Range. “For example, Rocket Lab have 18 months of solid bookings even though they haven’t flown yet.”

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