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The advent of smallsats for remote sensing services as described in the preceding chapter has shaken the world of space applications in a major way – financially, technically, and operationally. Small satellite constellations carrying out remote sensing operations have led to new business models and totally new service requirements. However, applications of small satellites for communications and networking have followed a different course than was the case for remote sensing. This is because sensor technology associated with remote sensing has evolved to become much more miniaturized and thus more easily compatible with small satellites. Commercial communication satellites, especially those in GEO orbit, have evolved in a different direction. Communications satellites have trended toward the use of very large aperture antenna reflectors that in some cases have become as large as 18 to 22 m in diameter. This trend toward large antenna reflectors has led to highly concentrated spot beams that in turn allows the use of smaller and lower cost user antennas on the ground. This also allows intensive frequency reuse by isolating beams from each other to avoid interference between beams using the same portions of the radio frequency spectrum.
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Pumpkin Cubesat Kit, http://www.pumpkininc.com/content/doc/forms/pricelist.pdf.
Debra Byd, “The European Space Agency is moving forward with plans to capture and remove a large piece of space debris, in a mission called e.Deorbit, by 2023” July 9, 2016. http://Earthsky.org/space/esa-to-capture-large-derelict-satellite.
Joseph N. Pelton, New Solutions for the Orbital Debris Problems (2015) Springer Press, New York.
- Innovative New Uses of Smallsats for Networking and Telecom
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