Wired’s “Danger Room” has an article which presents a good overview of the military’s (and NASA’s) move from expensive mega-scale spacecraft to smaller missions. It presents some interesting perspectives on the forces driving these trends in the space industry, and explores a few of the reasons why things are the way they are – and way they might be evolving in the future.

I’m a big fan of the idea that our space programs should embrace smaller missions: spacecraft that are less expensive and have a faster development cycle can explore higher-risk, higher-reward technologies and mission architectures than can monolithic “heritage” programs. I want to see technology demonstrators in space, and I want to see the fruits of those programs feeding into a robust research and development effort that pushes our space program where it has truly never gone before: robots to sail Titanian seas or burrow into Europan ice, observatories to unveil Earthlike planets in other star systems, and ships carrying humans to our neighbor worlds.

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