(Report via NewsEdge) University of Hawaii researchers plan to start sending satellites into space in two years, hoping to make the university the first in the world capable of designing, building, launching and controlling its own satellites.
The small satellites, weighing around 88 pounds (40kg) each, will be coming out of the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory established recently by a collaboration of researchers from the College of Engineering and the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology.
The project has start-up money that includes a $4-million federal appropriation sponsored by US Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat.
University officials are hoping the federal funds will grow to $40 million to pay for two launches and two spacecraft, with the first mission projected to take off in 2009.
The cost of constructing a single satellite is estimated at between $2 million and $4 million.
The small satellites will be capable of gathering information to address both local and global scientific questions.
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