Video: Honey, I Shrunk the Satellites!


These NASA mini-satellites are tiny, but can pack a big punch.

When it comes to satellites, bigger isn't always better. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory often builds very large satellites, but researchers at JPL also engineer CubeSats, which are very small spacecraft, with the smallest measuring in centimeters. NASA has launched hundreds of these teeny-tiny satellites into low-earth orbit over the past decade.

The CubeSats' size can seem restrictive, but their small size is beneficial.

The process of building the mini-satellites is quicker and far less expensive than a typical spacecraft. This allows room for engineers to experiment with new tools and processes, such as 3D printing. 

"These CubeSats are very, very limited, but they're very focused on what they do," said Andrew Klesh, a JPL engineer. "So they can do one thing and do it very, very well."

To learn more, check out the video below from NASA: