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December 4 2012

Mass-Produced Sats Will Offer Low-Cost Access to Space

On the factory floor at Sierra Nevada Corporation in Louisville, Colo., four identical satellites are taking shape in separate assembly areas, or pods. These are being built for tracking communications company ORBCOMM, which recently lost the first of these new satellites after a misbehaving SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket dumped it into the wrong orbit. These birds are members of a new breed of spacecraft that are more affordable because they are being made in quantity and with off-the-shelf rather than custom-made components.

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