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Proceedings Paper

The role of smallsats in scientific exploration and commercialization of space
Author(s): Azita Valinia; Joe Burt; Thai Pham; Opher Ganel
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Paper Abstract

Over the past decade, SmallSats have been established as having great potential for science exploration and commercialization of space. The SmallSat revolution aims to decrease the cost of space development, making space exploration accessible to students, educators, and public citizens. These efforts have focused on miniaturization of instruments and space platforms, as well as reducing their cost, mass, and needed power. In addition to enabling scientific exploration, SmallSats provide affordable means for the public to purchase remote sensing and communication products on a global scale. SmallSat mission concepts are particularly powerful when they are deployed in distributed architecture or constellations. For example, the most promising observation techniques for global science measurements of the Earth system and space weather require multi-point distributed observations of the Earth system at a feasible cost. The high cost of access to space has long been a barrier, especially with the prohibitive cost of large satellites. Affordable SmallSat constellations can be game-changers, enabling scientific exploration as well as commercial global data products. In this paper, we highlight investments made by NASA to date (specifically a study in developing and prototyping a SmallSat platform with standard interfaces), along with several example mission concept scenarios in Earth and space science (astrophysics, heliophysics, and planetary) applications that can be achieved using this platform.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2019
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 10982, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI, 1098221 (13 May 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2519489
Show Author Affiliations
Azita Valinia, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Joe Burt, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Thai Pham, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Opher Ganel, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10982:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications XI
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam, Editor(s)

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