As the number of cubesats and other small satellites grows, experts advise that some degree of industry self-regulation will be needed to avoid collisions that could lead to more restrictive government regulations.
Small satellites need their own propulsion systems because most of the widely used chemical and electric propulsion technologies don’t fit well on shoebox-size satellites and they are difficult to scale down. Natalya Bailey, co-founder of Accion Systems, is well aware of this problem.
As cubesats move from technology demonstrations and university projects to operational missions for companies and government agencies, ensuring those spacecraft are sufficiently reliable is a growing issue for the industry.
Peter Wegner, Spaceflight Industries chief technology officer, is convinced the killer app for small satellites is imagery. Joe Rothenberg, the former engineering director for Terra Bella, the Earth-imaging company purchased by Google, isn't so sure.
When Hawkeye 360 solicited proposals in 2016 to build its radio-frequency monitoring satellites, the firm found 25 companies capable of meeting its requirements.
Small satellite companies will generate impressive returns, but first the industry needs more launch opportunities and help reaching new customers, according to speakers at the Satellite 2017 conference.
The United States must be prepared to lose satellites in the event of a conflict, but smallsats and dispersed systems can help ensure key capabilities remain operational.
Inmarsat and AVI’s satellite data-relay service exits stealth mode after months of secret, in-space tests
For more than a year, Inmarsat has been working with Addvalue Innovation (AVI) to conduct secret tests of a service that lets operators maintain continuous contact with small satellites in low Earth orbit. Now, the companies are ready to offer the Inter-satellite Data Relay Service to satellite operators.
What’s the perfect size for a small satellite? “The answer is 42 kilograms,” said Martin Sweeting, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. founder and executive chairman said at the Small Satellite Symposium in Silicon Valley.
Launch companies that focus primarily on sending large spacecraft into orbit are modifying their business plans to serve customers in the rapidly growing small satellite market, according to a panel of experts speaking at the Small Satellite Symposium here Feb. 7.
Vector Space Systems said Nov. 18 that it has raised $1.25 million in funding to support development of its small launch vehicle, with a goal of a first launch by the end of next year.
NASA is planning to purchase tens of millions of dollars of Earth science data from constellations of small satellites in 2017 to determine how well that data can meet its needs.
The Defense Department isn’t willing to send small satellites into operational roles, at least not yet, a Pentagon official said Oct. 20.