Bottle rockets: water could propel tiny satellites of the future into deep space

Since the CubeSat specification was developed in 1999 by Stanford and California Polytechnic, low-cost satellites have become a reality for academic institutions and companies around the world. Their standardized dimensions and off-the-shelf components make for simpler design and production, but there’s a problem: these 10-centimeter cubes, used widely in fields such as meteorology, communications, and aeronautics, are limited by Earth’s orbit. Now, a team of researchers wants to change that — making interplanetary exploration more affordable by crowdfunding the development of a novel thruster that uses water as its fuel.

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