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A picosatellite is a spacecraft with a mass below 1 kg (2.2 lb). Because of this low mass, they are relatively easy to launch, and have often shared launch vehicles and piggy-backed on launch vehicles also carrying larger payloads. Some designs require a larger "mother" satellite for communication with ground controllers. The CubeSat design is an example of a picosatellite.

Spacecraft in this mass range would also be considerably easier to deliver to lunar orbit or to the {Lunar Surface|lunar surface]]. Existing launch vehicles could be reconfigured for this kind of mission. California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University, who introduced the CubeSat design, estimate CubeSats can be made and launched to LEO for US$65,000–80,000 each (2004 US dollars).