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Small satellite

Small satellite

Small satellites, miniaturized satellites, or smallsats, are satellites of low mass and

size, usually under 500 kg (1,100 lb). While all such satellites can be referred to as

"small", different classifications are used to categorize them based on mass.

Satellites can be built small to reduce the large economic cost of launch vehicles and

the costs associated with construction. Miniature satellites, especially in large

numbers, may be more useful than fewer, larger ones for some purposes – for

example, gathering of scientific data and radio relay. Technical challenges in the

construction of small satellites may include the lack of sufficient power storage or of

room for a propulsion system.

Contents

Rationales

History

Classification groups Small satellites Small satellite launch vehicle

Microsatellites Microsatellite launch vehicle

Nanosatellites Nanosat market Nanosatellite launch vehicle

Picosatellites

Femtosatellites

Technical challenges

See also

References

External links

Rationales

ESTCube-1 1U CubeSat
ESTCube-1 1U CubeSat

One rationale for miniaturizing satellites is to reduce the cost: heavier satellites require larger

rockets with greater thrust that also has greater cost to finance. In contrast, smaller and lighter

satellites require smaller and cheaper launch vehicles and can sometimes be launched in

multiples. They can also be launched 'piggyback', using excess capacity on larger launch

vehicles. Miniaturized satellites allow for cheaper designs as well as ease of mass production.

Group name [1]

Mass (kg)

Large satellite

>1000

Medium satellite

500

to 1000

Mini satellite

100

to 500

 

10 to 100

Nano satellite

1 to 10

Pico satellite

0.1 to 1

Femto satellite

<0.1

Another major reason for developing small satellites is the opportunity to enable missions that a Micro satellite

larger satellite could not accomplish, such as:

Constellations for low data rate communicationssatellite larger satellite could not accomplish, such as: Using formations to gather data from multiple points

Using formations to gather data from multiple pointssuch as: Constellations for low data rate communications In-orbit inspection of larger satellites University-related

In-orbit inspection of larger satellitesfor low data rate communications Using formations to gather data from multiple points University-related research

University-related researchlow data rate communications Using formations to gather data from multiple points In-orbit inspection of larger

History

The nanosatellite and microsatellite segments of the satellite launch industry have been growing rapidly in recent years, and was

based on the Spanish low cost manufacturing for Commercial and CommunicationSatellites from the 1990s. Development activity in

the 1–50 kg (2.2–110.2 lb) range has been significantly exceeding that in the 50–100 kg (110–220 lb) range. [2]

In the 1–50 kg range alone, there were fewer than 15 satellites launched annually in 2000 to 2005, 34 in 2006, then fewer than 30

launches annually during 2007 to 2011. This rose to 34 launched in 2012, and 92 launched in 2013. [2]

European analyst Euroconsult projects more than 500 smallsats being launched in the years 2015–2019 with a market value estimate

at US$7.4 billion. [3]

By mid-2015, many more launch options had become available for smallsats, and rides as secondary payloads had become both

[4]

greater in quantity and with the ability to schedule on shorter notice.

Classification groups

Small satellites

The term "small satellite", [2] or sometimes "minisatellite", often refers to an artificial

satellite with a wet mass (including fuel) between 100 and 500 kg (220 and

1,100 lb), [5][6] but in other usage has come to mean any satellite under 500 kg

(1,100 lb). [3]

Satellite examples: Demeter, Essaim, Parasol, Picard, Microscope, Taranis, Elisa,

Smese, SSOT, Smart-1, Spirale.

Three microsatellites ofSpace Technology 5
Three microsatellites ofSpace
Technology 5

Small satellite launch vehicle

Although smallsats have traditionally been launched as secondary payloads on larger launch vehicles, there are a number of

companies currently developing launch vehicles specifically targeted at the smallsat market. In particular, the secondary payload

paradigm does not provide the specificity required for many small satellites that have unique orbital and launch-timing

requirements. [7]

Companies planning small sat launch vehicles include:

Virgin Orbit 's LauncherOne (100 kg) [ 8 ] [ 9 ] Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne (100 kg) [8][9]

Rocket Lab 's Electron (150 kg) [ 1 0 ] Rocket Lab's Electron (150 kg) [10]

PLD Space (150 kg) [ 1 1 ] PLD Space (150 kg) [11]

Microsatellites

The term "microsatellite" or "microsat" is usually applied to the name of an artificial satellite with a wet mass between 10 and 100 kg

(22 and 220 lb). [2][5][6] However, this is not an official convention and sometimes those terms can refer to satellites larger than that,

or smaller than that (e.g., 1–50 kg (2.2–110.2 lb)). [2] Sometimes designs or proposed designs from some satellites of these types have

microsatellites working togetheror in a formation. [12] The generic term "small satellite" or "smallsat" is also sometimes used, [8] as is

"satlet". [13]

Examples: Astrid-1 and Astrid-2, as well as the set of satellites currently announced forLauncherOne (below). [8]

Microsatellite launch vehicle

A number of commercial and military-contractor companies are currently developing microsatellite launch vehicles to perform the

increasingly targeted launch requirements of microsatellites. While microsatellites have been carried to space for many years as secondary payloads aboard larger launchers, the secondary payload paradigm does not provide the specificity required for many

[7]

increasingly sophisticated small satellites that have unique orbital and launch-timing requirements.

In July 2012, Virgin Galactic announced LauncherOne, an orbital launch vehicle designed to launch "smallsat" primary payloads of

Galactic has been working on the LauncherOne concept since late 2008, [9] and, as of 2015, is making it a larger part of Virgin's core

business plan as the Virgin human spaceflight program has experienced multiple delays as well as fatala

accident in 2014. [14]

In December 2012, DARPA announced that the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access program would provide the microsatellite

rocket booster for another DARPA program that is intending to release a "constellation of 24 micro-satellites (~20 kg (44 lb) range)

each with 1-meter imagingresolution." [15] The program was cancelled in December 2015. [16]

In April 2013, Garvey Spacecraft was awarded a US$200,000 contract to evolve their Prospector 18 suborbital launch vehicle technology into an orbital nanosat launch vehicle capable of delivering a 10 kg (22 lb) payload into a 250 km (160 mi) orbit to an even-more-capableclustered "20/450 Nano/Micro Satellite Launch Vehicle" (NMSLV) capable of delivering 20 kg (44 lb) payloads into 450 km (280 mi)circular orbits. [17]

The Boeing Small Launch Vehicle is an air-launched three-stage-to-orbit launch vehicle concept aimed to launch small payloads of 45 kg (100 lb) into low-Earth orbit. The program is proposed to drive down launch costs for U.S. military small satellites to as low as US$300,000 per launch ($7,000/kg) and, if the development program was funded, as of 2012could be operational by 2020. [18]

The Swiss company Swiss Space Systems (S3) has announced plans in 2013 to develop a suborbital spaceplane named SOAR that

[19]

would launch a microsat launch vehicle capable of putting a payload of up to 250 kg (550 lb) into low-Earth orbit.

The Spanish company PLD Space born in 2011 with the objective of developing low cost launch vehicles called ARION-1 and ARION-2 with the capacity to place up to 150 kg (330 lb) into orbit. [11]

Nanosatellites

The term "nanosatellite" or "nanosat" is applied to an artificial satellite with a wet mass between 1 and 10 kg (2.2 and 22.0 lb). [2][5][6] Designs and proposed designs of these types may be launched individually, or they may have multiple nanosatellites working together or in formation, in which case, sometimes the term "satellite swarm" [20] or "fractionated spacecraft" may be applied. Some designs require a larger "mother" satellite for communication with ground controllers or for launching and docking with nanosatellites.

With continued advances in theminiaturization and capability increase of electronic technologyand the use of satellite constellations, nanosatellites are increasingly capable of performing commercial missions that previously required microsatellites. [21] For example,

a 6U CubeSat standard has been proposed to enable a constellation of 35 8 kg (18 lb) Earth-imaging satellites to replace a

constellation of five 156 kg (344 lb) RapidEye Earth-imaging satellites, at the same mission cost, with significantly increased revisit times: every area of the globe can be imaged every 3.5 hours rather than the once per 24 hours with the RapidEye constellation. More rapid revisit times are a significant improvement for nations performing disaster response, which was the purpose of the RapidEye constellation. Additionally, the nanosat option would allow more nations to own their own satellite for off-peak (non-disaster) imaging data collection. [21]

Example nanosatellites:ExoCube (CP-10), ArduSat , SPROUT [22] .

Nanosatellite developers and

manufacturers

include

GomSpace,

NanoSpace,

Spire, [23]

Technology, [24]

Nanosat market

In the ten years of nanosat launches prior to 2014, only 75 nanosats were launched. Launch rates picked up substantially when in the

[24]

three-month period from November 2013–January 2014 94 nanosats were launched.

One challenge of using nanosats has been the economic delivery of such small satellites to anywhere beyond low-Earth orbit. By late

Nanosatellite launch vehicle

With the emergence of the technological advances of miniaturization and increased capital to support private spaceflight initiatives in

the 2010s, several startups have been formed to pursue opportunities with developing a variety of small-payload Nanosatellite

Launch Vehicle (NLV) technologies.

NLVs proposed or under development include:

Virgin Orbit LauncherOne upper stage , intended to be air-launched from WhiteKnightTwo similar to how Virgin Orbit LauncherOne upper stage, intended to be air-launched from WhiteKnightTwo similar to how the SpaceShipTwo spaceplane is launched. [24][28]

Ventions Nanosat upper stage. [ 2 9 ] Ventions Nanosat upper stage. [29]

Nammo / Andøya North Star (polar orbit -capable launcher for a 10 kg (22 lb) Nammo/Andøya North Star (polar orbit-capable launcher for a 10 kg (22 lb) payload) [30]

As of April 2013, Garvey Spacecraft is evolving their Prospector 18 suborbital launch vehicle technology into an Garvey Spacecraftis evolving theirProspector 18 suborbital launch vehicle technology into an

[17]

orbital nanosat launch vehicle capable of delivering a 10 kg (22 lb) payload into a 250 km (160 mi) orbit.

Generation Orbit is developing an air-launched rocket to deliver both nanosats andsub-50 kg microsats to Generation Orbitis developing an air-launched rocket to deliver both nanosats andsub-50 kg microsats to low Earth orbit. [24]

Actual NS launches:

NASA launched three satellites on 21 April 2013 based on smart phones.woT NASA launched three satellites on 21 April 2013 based on smart phones.woT

phones use thePhoneSat 1.0

specification and the third used a beta version of PhoneSat 2.0 [31]

ISRO launched 14 nanosatellites on 22 June 2016, 2 for Indian universities and 12 for ISRO launched 14 nanosatellites on 22 June 2016, 2 for Indian universities and 12 for the United States under the Flock-2P program. This launch was performed during thePSLV-C34 mission.

ISRO launched 103 nanosatellites on 15 February 2017. This launch was performed during t he ISRO launched 103 nanosatellites on 15 February 2017. This launch was performed during thePSLV-C37 mission. [32]

Picosatellites

The term "picosatellite" or "picosat" (not to be confused with the PicoSAT series of microsatellites) is usually applied to artificial

satellites with a wet mass between 0.1 and 1 kg (0.22 and 2.2 lb), [5][6] although it is sometimes used to refer to any satellite that is

under 1 kg in launch mass. [2] Again, designs and proposed designs of these types usually have multiple picosatellites working

together or in formation (sometimes the term "swarm" is applied). Some designs require a larger "mother" satellite for

communication with ground controllers or for launching and docking with picosatellites. The CubeSat design, with approximately 1

kilogram (2.2 lb) mass, is an example of a large picosatellite (or minimum nanosat).

Picosatellites are emerging as a new alternative for do-it-yourself kitbuilders. Picosatellites are currently commercially available

across the full range of 0.1–1 kg (0.22–2.2 lb). Launch opportunities are now available for $12,000 to $18,000 for sub-1 kg picosat

payloads that are approximately the size of a soda can. [33]

Femtosatellites

The term "femtosatellite" or "femtosat" is usually applied to artificial satellites with a wet mass between 10 and 100 g (0.35 and

3.5 oz). [2][5][6] Like picosatellites, some designs require a larger "mother" satellite for communication with ground controllers.

Three prototype "chip satellites" were launched to the ISS on Space Shuttle Endeavour on its final mission in May 2011. They were

attached to the ISS external platform Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE-8) for testing. [34] In March 2014, the

nanosatellite KickSat was launched aboard a Falcon 9 rocket with the intention of releasing 104 femtosatellite-sized chipsats, or

"Sprites". [35][36] ThumbSat is another project intending to launch femtosatellites in 2016.

[37]

Technical challenges

Small satellites usually require innovative propulsion,attitude control, communication and computation systems.

Larger satellites usually use monopropellants or bipropellant combustion systems for propulsion and attitude control; these systems

are complex and require a minimal amount of volume to surface area to dissipate heat. These systems may be used on larger small

Small satellites can use conventional radio systems in UHF, VHF, S-band and X-band, although often miniaturized using more up-to-

date technology as compared to larger satellites. Tiny satellites such as nanosats and small microsats may lack the power supply or

mass for large conventional radiotransponders, and various miniaturized or innovative communications systems have been proposed,

such as laser receivers, antenna arrays and satellite-to-satellite communication networks. Few of these have been demonstrated in

practice.

Electronics need to be rigorously tested and modified to be "space hardened" or resistant to the outer space environment (vacuum,

microgravity, thermal extremes, and radiation exposure). Miniaturized satellites allow for the opportunity to test new hardware with

reduced expense in testing. Furthermore, since the overall cost risk in the mission is much lower, more up-to-date but less space-

proven technology can be incorporated into micro and nanosats than can be used in much larger, more expensive missions with less

appetite for risk.

See also

DRAGONSat picosatellite DRAGONSat picosatellite

References

AMSAT Amateur Satellite Corp. AMSAT Amateur Satellite Corp.

SEI. January 2014: 18. Retrieved 18 February 2014.

12 December 2012.

12 December 2012.

8.

9.

10.

"Electron" (http://www.rocketlabusa.com/). Rocket Lab. 15 February 2016.

11.

12.

2015.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

Verhoeven, C.J.M.; Bentum, M.J.; Monna, G.L.E.; Rotteveel, J.; Guo, J. (April–May 2011). "On the origin of satellite swarms". Acta Astronautica. 68 (7-8): 1392–1395.Bibcode:2011AcAau 68.1392V(http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/20

21.

Tsitas, S. R.; Kingston, J. (February 2012). "6U CubeSat commercial applications".The Aeronautical Journal. 116 (1176): 189–198.

22.

23.

24.

"Nanosats are go!"(https://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21603240-small-satellites-taking-advanta ge-smartphones-and-other-consumer-technologies). Technology Quarterly Q2 2014. The Economist. 7 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014. "On November 19th Orbital Sciences, an American company, launched a rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. It carried 29 satellites aloft and released them into low-Earth orbit, a record for a single mission. Thirty hours later, Kosmotras, a Russian joint-venture, carried 32 satellites into a similar orbit. Then, in January 2014, Orbital Sciences carried 33 satellites up to the International Space Station (ISS), where they were cast off a month later."

25.

26.

2012.

33. "DIY Satellite Platforms"(http://kk.org/cooltools/archives/7419). KK Technium. Retrieved 12 December 2012.

External links

. Wired . Retrieved 21 February 2016. External links Nanosatellite database Retrieved from

This page was last edited on 14 November 2017, at 13:01.