Baby satellites swim free in orbit.

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(Image: NASA)

It’s a brave new world of cuteness: spacecraft that can fit in your hand and cost less than your house. The TechEdSats, just 10 centimetres across, were launched from the Kibo laboratory of the International Space Station yesterday and will hang around in low orbit for the next few weeks.

“It costs when you send mass to space,” said Ann Marie Trotta, a spokeswoman for NASA. “With nanotechnology , the smaller you make things, the cheaper and more efficient it is. That’s always been a thing with the space programme – making things smaller and smaller.”

The tiny satellites were built for less than $30,000 by aerospace engineering student interns at San Jose State University, California, with some help from the NASA pros at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

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