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Four spinning spacecraft breaking new barriers

Four moving as one, from my Space Trade Association post.

The Space Trade Association

The fearsome foursome: Technologies enable ambitious MMS mission
[Via EurekAlert! – Space and Planetary Science]

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) It was unprecedented developing a mission that could fly four identically equipped spacecraft in a tight formation and take measurements 100 times faster than any previous space mission — an achievement enabled in part by four NASA-developed technologies that in some cases took nearly 10 years to mature.

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The picture above is an artist’s concept for these spacecraft. They will each spinning and orbit in formation with each other.

They will examine magnetic fields, informing us tremendously.

But, keeping them in formation, while they are spinning required mew approaches. They could use GPS to identify the location of each craft, but they also needed to create algorithms that would accurately predict where each craft would be several days in the future.

They needed new antennas…

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