Small satellites are transforming the accessibility of satellite data. Online build instructions and hardware options are proving popular with space agencies, small companies, universities and schools. With crowdfunding start-ups pitching a price tag of around £25,000 for build costs, entrepreneurs are unlocking the ability for all of us to enter space, and exploit space data.
Earth Observation (EO) satellites help us to monitor and protect our environment, manage our resources, respond to global humanitarian disasters and enable sustainable development.
Communication satellites power our insatiable appetite for data on the go and can connect people in different locations anywhere on Earth.
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) provide us with position and time. The most well-known navigation satellite is GPS (Global Positioning System).
Satellites vary in size dependent on the instruments and payload they are designed to house. The largest satellites are commonly used for broadcast and communications, while Earth observation, exploration and navigation satellites are smaller in size.
7m x 2.9m x 2.3m
Alphasat is Europe’s most technically advanced and largest telecommunications satellite built. It is the size of double decker bus and was launched in 2013 to establish the world’s first global 3G mobile network.
(6.2m x 3.4m x 3.4m)
Eumetsat’s MetOp series is currently Europe’s largest weather forecasting satellites, with MetOp-B measuring the size of a large transit van. Launched in September 2012, it provides the next generation of European instruments offering precise sensing capabilities to meteorologists and climatologists.
(2.8m x 2.1m x 2m)
Rosetta, a 14-year science mission launched in 2004, is the size of a mini and has 14m long solar panels to help generate energy while it is in deep space. Rosetta rendezvoused with a comet in 2014, placing a small lander, Philae, on the comet’s surface.
The actual size of a Cubesat is:
10cm x 10cm x 10cm
The UK is leading a global revolution in satellite manufacturing with small satellites such as CubeSats. Measuring just 10cm x 10cm x 10cm, CubeSats are transforming the accessibility of satellite data for us all.
CubeSats can be built within 18 months. This short time scales allows for vital training and technology validation for the next generation of space experts.
Quick development times enable innovation which may not be economically feasible during the development of larger satellites.
One key to CubeSat success and acceptance is their affordable launch. They achieve this by sharing space in a rocket with a bigger primary satellite. CubeSats are then deployed after the primary satellite has been sent into its desired orbit.
WHY IS THE COST FALLING?
1. The cost of launch is reducing
2. Hardware is getting smaller, smarter and cheaper
3. Cost of satellite manufacture is reducing
Small, light and cheap satellites will transform the industry
How they measure up to each other…
WHERE DO YOU GO FROM HERE?
Satellites are technological enablers, supporting countless innovations and developments in a multitude of industries and locations. This website is intended to give you an insight into how satellites work, to help you make a better informed decision about how they could help you.
With satellite hardware and data costs falling, and with a range of government support available, now is a better time than ever to utilise this diverse technology and be part of one of the UK’s fastest growing industries.
To discover more about how satellites could be applied to solve your challenges, how you could gain access to data, find case studies, develop your own satellite technology service, or if you simply want to learn more, contact us at: