The CubeSat has very quickly become the “poster child” of the New Space Industry.
CubeSats are miniature satellites that have been used exclusively in low Earth orbit for 15 years, and are now being used for interplanetary missions as well.
From the original concept as an educational tool for university students, it has evolved, spread, and been adopted by emerging space nations, new industries, nonprofits, space agencies like NASA, and traditional aerospace and military companies.
The burgeoning CubeSat community can take advantage of a variety of payloads and mission applications that CubeSats can support at economically attractive costs.
In fact, launching a conventional satellite into space can cost anywhere between $10 million and $400 million, depending on the vehicle used. A CubeSat launch is around $40,000.
CubeSats also require shorter development times. This is key because analysts insist the new Space Age is about the ability to start projects quickly, without waiting too long. A conventional satellite requires very long development times, between five and 15 years. On the other hand, the first CubeSat of a constellation can be in space within eight months, and if we are talking about replicas, this wait is reduced to only two months.
CubeSats also tend to incorporate more modern, up-to-date technology. It’s no secret that technological advances are moving at a dizzying speed. It is not difficult to find functioning satellites that use technology from more than 25 years ago.
In the case of CubeSats, they are usually designed for a useful life of two to four years. In a constellation, with each new replica that comes into replace another small satellite, it is possible (and recommended) to incorporate updated technology.
In this way, the services offered can be significantly improved and extended with the help of the latest technology available on the market.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Introductions to CubeSat, a 2-day course covering the basic concepts and processes for CubeSat analysis, design and developments. Participants will learn about the CubeSats or miniature satellites that have been used exclusively in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), and can be used for exploring and interplanetary missions.
Please contact us for more information.