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Satellite fleet will get water-spraying thrusters

Comet propulsion system
Deep Space Industries’ Comet propulsion system uses water vapor as propellant. (DSI Illustration)

California-based Deep Space Industries says it has signed a contract to provide water-spraying thrusters for the BlackSky Earth observation satellites that are due to be built in Seattle.

The contract covers an initial block of 20 Comet water-based satellite propulsion systems. The systems expel superheated water vapor as propellant to adjust the attitude of small spacecraft in orbit.

Twenty satellites are scheduled to go into orbit by 2020 in the first phase of an Earth observation effort managed by BlackSky, a subsidiary of Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries. The first satellite, dubbed Global-1, is due for launch this year.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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