Science Business: Nanosatellites open up space research as Finland builds its first satellite

Finland’ Aalto university’s satellite, Aalto-1, a bit taller than a milk carton, will come in at around a tenth the cost of one of its larger counterparts. The miniature device, which only weighs 3kg, is an example of a nanosatellite, or nanosat, and is one of many being assembled right now in Europe.

The Aalto-1, due for launch sometime in the beginning of 2016, will carry out several conventional roles in space. It will carry a spectrometer instrument, which designers are calling novel due to its small size, a radiation detector and a solar sail. Aalto-1 will also be followed by other Aalto satellites.

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Image: Aalto