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Nanosatellite Industry Overview

Mar 10, 2016



A short review of the exiting and noval space industry of COTS nanosatellites

  • Nanosatellite Industry Overview


  • Content of the Presentation


    Capabilities of Nano satellites

    Nano satellites statistics

    Past launches and launchers

    Nano satellites Failure analysis

    The Israeli Aspect


  • Introduction (1)

    Satellites are categorized by their weight according to the following key:

    Less than 1 kg: Pico satellite

    Less than 10 kg: Nano satellite

    Less than 100 kg: Micro satellite


    Credit: CUTE XI-IV University of Tokyo

  • Introduction (2)

    Since the dawn of the space age in 1955, small satellites were used and launched mainly for communication missions such as store-and-forward and relay (e.g. the Strella constellation).

    In 1981 the first University satellite UoSAT-1 build by Surrey university and launched on Delta-2310 from Vandenberg AFB.

    The CubeSat small satellite standard was jointly created by Stanford University and Cal Poly State University in 1999


  • Understanding the Jargon

    1U A 10 cm * 10 cm * 10 cm cube (hence CubeSat)

    Other versions include: 1.5U (15 cm * 10 cm * 10 cm)

    2U (20 cm * 10 cm * 10 cm)

    3U (34 cm * 10 cm * 10 cm)

    4U (45 cm * 10 cm * 10 cm)

    5U (57 cm * 10 cm * 10 cm)

    6U (34 cm * 23 cm * 10 cm)

    12U (34 cm * 23 cm * 23 cm)

    Note: Red marks not yet launched


  • Nano Satellites Architecture

    Mission lifetime: at least three years

    Several Nano satellites crossed the 3 years mark (amongst them, Delfi-C3).


    Attitude Control

    Full three axis with

  • Nano Satellites Payloads

    Optical Payloads

    Visible light cameras including video NIR Multispectral SAR

    Communication Payloads

    S-band and UHF/VHF Narrowband communication Store and forward Relay stations


    NanoCam C1U

  • CubeSatShop The AMAZON of the Industry


  • Nano satellite uses

    Science Missions In 2006, NASA was the first to comprehend the benefits of

    Nano-satellites. Since Then Nano satellites were used for deep space

    observations, biological experiments, earth quake measurements and earth observation.

    Narrow-band communication Used as amateur radio relays Store and forward applications

    Technological Demonstrator New components New materials New techniques


    GeneSat integrated in a P-POD and ready

    for Launch, courtesy of NASA

  • Some numbers and statistics (1)


    Manifested Small Satellites by Year

    Manifested satellites

    from 1999 to 2011

    135 More than 70% in the

    last 5 years

  • Some numbers and statistics (2)

    11 Mission Type by Year

  • Some numbers and statistics (3)


    Mission Developer by Nation/Region Manifested by Year

  • Some numbers and statistics (4)

    13 Repeat Missions vs. Single-Launch programs

  • Nano Satellites Launch History

    14 Previous Launches (failures in Red)

    # of Satellites Launch Vehicle Year

    6 Rokot/Briz-KM 2003

    3 Kosmos-3M 2005

    14 Dnepr 2006

    1 Minotaur-1 2006

    7 Dnepr 2007

    6 PSLV-CA 2008

    2 Falcon-1 2008

    4 Minotaur-1 2009

    5 PSLV-CA 2009

    3 H-IIA 2010

    2 PSLV-CA 2010

    3 Taurus-XL 2011

    3 Dnepr 2011

    6 VEGA 2012

    Manifested Satellite

    From 2003 to 2012:

    136 Satellite Launched

    From 2003 to 2012:


    50% of manifested

    satellites were


    between 2003 and 2012

  • Launcher Interfaces The Challenge


    Integrated Payloads being loaded into the DNPER cluster launch

  • The POD a standard for the industry

    Launching Nano satellites from within a POD (Pico satellite Orbital Deployer) simplify the launch campaign.

    Nano satellites are placed within a POD which reduces the interface with the launcher to a minimum.

    PODs are common and became standard allowing launch brokers much more flexibility and management ever

    Actual interfaces are with the adaptor, hence the payload has no influence


    6-Pack ISIPOD made

    by ISIS for up to six


  • Failure Statistics by Root Cause (1999-2011)


    Success 67%

    CPU 2%

    Power 6%

    Communication 8%

    Structure 4%

    Thermal 1%

    Radiation 1%

    Unknown 11%









  • Why Nano satellites failed ? Past events

    Radiation: 1 (TUBSAT-B). Killed by the Van Allen Belts due to its orbit altitude of 1250 km.

    Structure/Launch interface: 3 (Mozhayets 5, BEVO 1, AggieSat-2). Mozhayets 5 failed to separate from the launch vehicle, the other two spacecraft were launched as a unit and failed to disconnect from each other.

    Thermal: 1 (UNAMSAT-B). Cold prelaunch thermal conditions led to an inability to contact the spacecraft immediately after launch, leading to more thermally-induced battery problems

  • Why Nano satellites failed ? Past events cont

    Communications: 7 (Arsene, SEDsat [partial], JAWSAT, Cute-1.7, UWE-1, STUDSAT, UNITEC-1, K-SAT). These spacecraft were operational for a short time, losing either their transmitters or receivers (or both) unexpectedly. Bad wiring is suspected in some cases

    Power: 5 (SEDsat [partial], ASUSat-1, FalconSAT-1, AAU CubeSat-I, SSETI-Experss, UGATUSAT). The reason vary, but all of these vehicles had problems, typically with the connection between batteries and solar arrays.

  • Why Nano satellites failed ? Past events cont

    CPU: 2 (SpriteSat, STARS-1). Both of these spacecraft encountered unexpected CPU lockups within days of launch, they have not been recoverd

    Unknown: 10 (JAK, Louise, Thelma, CanX-1, DTUsat, NCube II, YES2/Fotino, KKS 1, Waseda-SAT2, UWE-2). These ten spacecraft were confirmed to have released, but contact was never made. Bad communications or bad power is suspected.

  • The Israeli Aspect (1/4)

    Name: Duchifat-1, HSL

    Mission: AIS

    Type: Picosatellite (1U)

    Initiation: 2002

    Status: Early integration stage

    Launch date: Unknown


    Credit: HSL

  • The Israeli Aspect (2/4)

    Name: Inklajn-1

    Mission: Laboratory

    Type: Nanosatellite (3U)

    Initiation: 2006

    Status: Final integration stage

    Launch date: Unknown


    Credit: IAI

  • The Israeli Aspect (3/4)

    Name: SAMSON

    Mission: Formation flying and Geo Location

    Type: Nanosatellite constellation

    (three 6U)

    Initiation: 2012

    Status: Early design phase

    Launch date: Unknown


    Credit: The Technion

  • The Israeli Aspect (4/4)

    First signs of educational endeavors

    Mor Metrowest Raanana

    Space Lab + Clean room

    Educational program


    Space educational programs in Arad and Maale Adumim


  • Summary Nano satellites are launched as a piggyback along

    with primary payload In 2014, ESA plans the first Nano satellite dedicated

    launch on a Vega launcher (QB50)

    Currently all Nano satellites are launched to LEO

    There are more than 250 nano satellites built across the globe and planned to be launch in the next three years. In 1994 they were only 10 cubesat programs in the

    US. In 2011 there are more than 150 !!

    Israel didnt launch yet


  • Sources of Information

    25 Years of Small Satellites Siegfried Janson The Aerospace Corporation

    Attack of the CubeSats: A Statistical Look Michael Swartwout Saint Louis University

    Recent CubeSat Launch Experiences on U.S. Launch Vehicles Jordi Puig-Suari, Roland Coelho California Polytechnic State

    University; Scott Williams, Victor Aguero, Kyle Leveque, Bryan Klofas SRI International

    Distant Horizons: Smallsat Evolution in the Mid-to-Far Term Matt Bille, Paul Kolodziejski, Tom Hunsaker Booz Allen Hamilton


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