"Faster, cheaper, better"
That's what engineering researchers say the world is after nowadays. take a look at how computer information was saved about thirty years ago... on large reels of magnetic tape. Today all that information can be saved on a tiny zip drive. Now scientists are doing the same thing with satellites.
"pack as much as you can can pack in there, " says Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy.
Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy has studied satellites for over twenty years and says the standard satellite takes about ten years to build and costs billions of dollars.
"it is very costly and takes an extremely long time," he says.
But it doesn't have to be that way he says. Since last January, Dr. Fitz-Coy along with about 10 graduate students at U-F have been building a one of it's kind small satellite called "Swamp Sat."
"all of a sudden before you even knew it, it was called the swamp sat," says U-F Grad Student Vivek Nagabhushan.
Satellite researchers say the standard satellite weighs about two thousand pounds, but not "Swamp Sat". The four inch by four inch satellite only weighs two pounds. The small satellite has most of the capabilities a larger satellite has.
"that's essentially the challenge," says Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy.
Small satellite researchers at U-F plan to launch "Swamp Sat" to space in the Fall, and if they do, "Swamp Sat" will be the first Florida built satellite and the first small satellite that can do what satellite researchers call "rapid re-targeting and precision pointing."
"I'm flying overhead there is a feature on the ground. i look at it as i'm going by and as i pass by i also continue to look at it," says Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy.
The "Swamp Sat" team puts in well over forty hours a week on the project, but they say it is well worth it.
"the best is yet to come," says Dr. Norman Fitz-Coy.
A time they are hoping will come after they launch "Swamp Sat".
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