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Small Satellites: A Revolution in Space Science

Norton, Charles D. and Pellegrino, Sergio and Johnson, Michael and Arya, Manan and Steeves, John and Kulkarni, Shri and Martin, Christopher D. (2014) Small Satellites: A Revolution in Space Science. . (Unpublished)

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This report describes the results of a study program sponsored by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) at the California Institute of Technology to explore how small satellite systems can uniquely enable new discoveries in space science. The disciplines studied span astrophysics, heliophysics, and planetary science (including NEOs, and other small bodies) based on remote and in-situ observations. The two workshops and study period that comprised this program brought together space scientists, engineers, technologists, mission designers, and program managers over 9 months. This invitation-only study program included plenary and subject matter working groups, as well as short courses and lectures for the public. Our goal was to conceive novel scientific observations, while identifying technical roadblocks, with the vision of advancing a new era of unique explorations in space science achievable using small satellite platforms from 200 kg down to the sub-kg level. The study program participants focused on the role of small satellites to advance space science at all levels from observational techniques through mission concept design. Although the primary goal was to conceive mission concepts that may require significant technology advances, a number of concepts realizable in the near-term were also identified. In this way, one unexpected outcome of the study program established the groundwork for the next revolution in space science, driven by small satellites platforms, with a near-term and far-term focus. There were a total of 35 KISS study participants across both workshops (July 16-20, 2012 and October 29-31, 2012) from 15 institutions including JPL, Caltech, JA /, MIT, UCLA, U. Texas at Austin, U. Michigan, USC, The Planetary Society, Space Telescope Science Institute, Cornell, Cal Poly SLO, Johns Hopkins University, NRL, and Tyvak LLC. The first workshop focused on identifying new mission concepts while the second workshop explored the technology and engineering challenges identified via a facilitated mission concept concurrent design exercise. The Keck Institute limits the number of participants per workshop to at most 30 to encourage close interaction where roughly 20% involved in this study were students. This report is organized to communicate the outcome of the study program. It is also meant to serve as a public document to inform the larger community of the role small satellites can have to initiate a new program of exploration and discovery in space science. As such, it includes recommendations that could inform programmatic 1-5 decision making within space exploration agencies, both in the USA and internationally, on the promise of low-cost, focused, and high impact science should a strategic plan for small satellite space science be pursued. As such, the study program organizers and all participants are available to respond to any aspect of this report.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Technical Report)
Pellegrino, Sergio0000-0001-9373-3278
Kulkarni, Shri0000-0001-5390-8563
Martin, Christopher D.0000-0002-8650-1644
Additional Information:© 2014 California Institute of Technology. US Government sponsorship acknowledged. The research described in this report was sponsored by the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) and was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautical and Space Administration. On behalf of the study group we gratefully acknowledge the outstanding guidance and support of the KISS staff. In particular, we especially thank and recognize Michele Judd who truly made everyone feel welcome and at home during the study sessions, Tom Prince and the KISS Steering Committee for their inspirational leadership in establishing the KISS program.
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies, GALCIT
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190213-133819234
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:92887
Deposited By: Iryna Chatila
Deposited On:15 Feb 2019 22:35
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 23:25

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