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Proceedings Paper

Innovative approach for low-cost quick-access small payload missions
Author(s): Jan W. Friis
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Paper Abstract

A significant part of the burgeoning commercial space industry is placing an unprecedented number of satellites into low earth orbit for a variety of new applications and services. By some estimates the commercial space industry now exceeds that of government space activities. Yet the two markets remain largely separate, with each deploying dedicated satellites and infrastructure for their respective missions. One commercial space firm, Final Analysis, has created a new program wherein either government, scientific or new technology payloads can be integrated on a commercial spacecraft on commercial satellites for a variety of mission scenarios at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated mission. NASA has recognized the advantage of this approach, and has awarded the Quick Ride program to provide frequent, low cost flight opportunities for small independent payloads aboard the Final Analysis constellation, and investigators are rapidly developing science programs that conform to the proposed payload accommodations envelope. Missions that were not feasible using dedicated launches are now receiving approval under the lower cost Quick Ride approach. Final Analysis has dedicated ten out of its thirty-eight satellites in support of the Quick Ride efforts. The benefit of this type of space access extend beyond NASA science programs. Commercial space firms can now gain valuable flight heritage for new technology and satellite product offerings. Further, emerging international space programs can now place a payload in orbit enabling the country to allocate its resources against the payload and mission requirements rather htan increased launch costs of a dedicated spacecraft. Finally, the low cost nature provides University-based research educational opportunities previously out of the reach of most space-related budgets. This paper will describe the motivation, benefits, technical features, and program costs of the Final Analysis secondary payload program. Payloads can be accommodated on up to thirty-eight separate satellites. Since the secondary payloads will fly on satellites designed for global wireless data services, each user can utilize low cost communication system already in place for sending and retrieving digital information from its payload.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 November 2000
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4136, Small Payloads in Space, (7 November 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.406652
Show Author Affiliations
Jan W. Friis, Final Analysis, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4136:
Small Payloads in Space
Brian J. Horais; Robert J. Twiggs, Editor(s)

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