NASA Small Satellite: provide an economical and sensitive alternative to larger satellites.
Small satellites provide an economical and sensitive alternative to larger and more expensive satellites. As demand grows, engineers must adapt these nanosatellites to provide greater data returns. NASA, in collaboration with educational partners, is targeting 2021 for the launch of an innovative CubeSat that addresses these challenges.
CubeSats consist of units in standard cubes, or U, typically up to 12U. A 1U CubeSat has 10 cubic centimeters and can weigh as little as three pounds. They are released as ancillary payloads on existing missions, providing a cost-effective opportunity for small-scale research projects. Satellites spend an average of 90 days in orbit. Since its inception, CubeSats has been a boon to research and development of small satellites. Communication occurs only when a satellite passes over one of the NEN antennas, located around the globe.
The purpose of our mission is to simultaneously provide critical engineering data to strengthen NASA missions and demonstrate the operational advantages of near continuous communications between CubeSats and the TDRS constellation.