Palani Murugan, Yogyata Agrawal
Abstract: Small satellites with less than 500 kg mass have come back with improved capabilities. The small satellites are the stepping stone for new comer coming to the space field. Mass and size reduction are possible due to miniaturisation of electronic hardware and converting many hardware logics into software logics. Further mass reduction is achieved in small satellites by introducing new lighter materials in mechanical systems and designing the sub systems without redundancy. Continuous development of new technologies reduces the mass of satellites. Some payloads like high resolution cameras and communication antennas cannot be accommodated in small satellites, but those applications are better served by multiple small satellites together. Though the small satellites have advantages of launched as piggyback with bigger operation satellite with reduced launch cost, in most of the launches they are launched to the orbit of the primary satellites. Dedicated small satellite launch vehicle will solve this problem. This paper discusses the advantages, applications and classifications of small satellites. Challenges and technologies used in the small satellite missions also presented.
Keywords: Satellite, Autonomy, COTS, Miniaturisation