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For many decades there was a conventional wisdom about how to design, build, test, and launch application satellites – mainly “requirements-driven,” based on detailed and often very complex specifications or constraints in documents issued by space agencies or large companies. These “conventionally designed” satellites were intended to sustain commercial or governmental services for telecommunications, broadcasting, remote sensing, meteorological services, navigation and positioning, etc. The basic design of a satellite was based on the premise that any spacecraft needed to be built to sustain operations for many years in the hostile environment of space. Since these satellites were quite expensive due to dedicated launches, care was taken to make sure that all of the components of the satellites were carefully qualified and tested. Such satellites were sent to various types of testing facilities, such as inside thermal vacuum chambers, on shaker tables, and many more for quite extensive testing to ensure that they would operate and function for a long time in space after launch. These satellites had built-in redundancy of key components to allow switching to back-up systems when failures occurred – often with more than one instance.
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Joseph N. Pelton Basics of Satellite Communications, (2006) Chicago, Illinois: International Engineering Consortium. (Second edition).
One cubesat unit is defined as 100 mm x 100 mm x 100 mm size with up to 1.33 kg mass (see: Cubesat Design Specification, revision 13, http://www.cubesat.org/s/cds_rev13_final2.pdf).
ISRO successfully launches record 104 satellites in PSLV-C37 rocket, Financial Express (February 15, 2017) http://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/isro-india-succesfully-launches-record-104-satellites-from-single-rocket/551718/ (Last accessed Oct. 14, 2017).
Updated List of Smallsat Launch Vehicles (2015) http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/10/04/updated-list-smallsat-launch-vehicles/.
William Ailor, Glenn Peterson, James Womack, Megan Youngs, Effect of Large Capacity Constellations on Lifetime of Satellites in Low Earth Orbit, Journal of Space Safety Engineering, Jan. 2018.
Tim Fuller, “Space Debris Break Point” The Room Space Journal, Fall 2017, pp. 10-13.
- Engineering, Design, and Launch Arrangements of Smallsats
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