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Proceedings Paper

Low-cost space platforms for detection and tracking technologies
Author(s): Robert M. Cullen
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Paper Abstract

This paper describes the capabilities and applications of inexpensive satellite platforms capable of carrying dedicated sensor packages into low earth orbit on primary or shared launch services. These satellites permit achievement of rapid operational status by employing standard buses with fixed options for orbit and power. The satellites may be configured for experimental or operational missions with lifetimes up to several years. Low cost satellites can satisfy a range of mission requirements in the areas of surveillance, drug interdiction, environmental and geophysical observations, immigration control, fisheries law enforcement, remote sensing, real-time communications, store-and-forward communications, and technology testing. These satellites may be equipped for location determination missions with ID and homing transponders and tagged objects or persons. The satellites' size, power, and weight budgets are appropriately rated for the types of dedicated mission scenarios noted above. For applications requiring continuous visibility or high availability, constellations of satellites may be both appropriate and cost-effective. Orbital parameters are determined by the launch vehicle and the requirements of the primary payload. Geographical service areas are determined by the orbital footprint, the parameters of which are determined by the mission requirements and the selection of launch vehicle. The satellites' small size permits their launch on any of several launch vehicles in domestic or international inventory. Integral to each satellite is a communications and control package which, when coupled with companion low cost earth terminals, provides programmable mission scenarios under operator control. These satellites permit rapid implementation of operational systems within tight fiscal constraints.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 August 1991
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 1479, Surveillance Technologies, (1 August 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.44539
Show Author Affiliations
Robert M. Cullen, Consultant (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1479:
Surveillance Technologies
Sankaran Gowrinathan; Raymond J. Mataloni; Stanley J. Schwartz, Editor(s)

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