Among the payloads awaiting rides to orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 is a U.S.-South Korean cubesat experiment that perfectly illustrates the value of tiny platforms as low-cost precursors for vastly more expensive spacecraft. Its acronym is a stretch—Canyval-X, for “Cubesat Astronomy by NASA and Yonsei Using Virtual Telescope Alignment Experiment.” But it covers all the bases in describing how a project that costs the U.S. and South Korean space agencies less than $1 million in ...

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