NASA prepares to launch a swarm of satellites

NASA engineers who are seeking to measure charged particles hitting the Earth’s atmosphere have devised an novel solution; a low-cost swarm of satellites that are able to commune with one another in orbit.
The system, dubbed the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (or EDSN) will demonstrate the ability of cheap satellites to perform research tasks in space.
Earlier this year, NASA made use of similar satellites – called CubeSats – in an effort to test beaming broadband transmissions from space. Facebook and Google have also made similar attempts to offer affordable internet solutions from space.
Each EDSN satellite NASA now launches will not only have the ability to count charged particles in space, but also commune with one another to share data and beam information to Earth.

A render of EDSN in space

Roger Hunter, from NASA’s Ames Research Centre, elaborated: “What we learn from EDSN will enable future Nasa missions. This will be the first demonstration of a ‘swarm’ of networked nanosatellites… We can easily envision constellations of nanosatellites in the future focused on various scientific missions in earth sciences, heliophysics, planetary sciences, and astrophysics.”
EDSN is set to launch this coming week, and will be the first satellite launch from the US Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
What are your thoughts on EDSN? Could we see greater uses for nano-satellites in the future? Let us know in the comments below!