Canisterized Satellite Development for Operationally Responsive Space
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Improving access to space is of particular importance to the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office as it strives to quickly fulfill the needs of the warfighter. Typically, each spacecraft launch is treated as a unique mission requiring in-depth analyses, design, manufacturing, and integration, none of which answer the call for responsive space. While spacecraft are generally complex, unique systems designed for a multitude of tasks, the time and cost for integration and launch of these systems can be improved significantly by considering them not as unique payloads, rather as standardized payloads that can be readily launched on multiple launch vehicles. To make an immediate and significant impact on responsive space, small satellite launch systems can be modeled after the proven CubeSat approach. Fundamental concepts of the CubeSat program such as standardization, canisters, modularity, and expandability yield great benefits that fold nicely into the ORS desires of launching small spacecraft quickly and affordably. The current CubeSat standards, however, have proven too restrictive and do not meet sufficient critical mission requirements. This proposal will outline the approach and feasibility of developing both an expanded version of the CubeSat concept and the necessary launch accommodations. BENEFIT: ORS will realize multiple benefits from the proposed research and development program. This effort will enable rapid access to space on multiple launch vehicles, provide increased mass and volume capacity as compared to the current CubeSat standards, maintain and expand the existing CubeSat Standards, and reduce cost and integration time to launch critical ORS small satellites. We anticipate that with successful Phase I and II completion, Phase III commercialization of the proposed canister and multiple canister adapter will occur within one year of the Phase II conclusion. If funded, this program will align well with the ever-expanding CubeSat community, and the technology will be quickly transferred and applied to the Air Force, broader defense market, and existing commercial markets with limited additional internal investment.
Small Business Information at Submission:
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