Session

Technical Session IX: Standards and Education

SSC13-IX-1.pdf (768 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

We have covered the statistical history of university-class small satellites for nearly a decade, revisiting the numbers every two years. In every previous paper, we have promised/threatened that the number of university-class missions will increase, only to spend the next paper explaining why that flood has not happened – but is definitely going to happen next year. This year, at last, we can break the cycle: the flood of university-class spacecraft has come, in the form of CubeSats; more than 30 are known to be manifested for 2013, with equal (or greater) numbers for 2014. For this paper, we will revise previous studies in two ways: 1) Include the results of the past two years, which will show a continued upward trend in the number of universityclass missions, a continued downward trend in the size of the spacecraft, and a not-so-continued dominance of the flagship universities. Have we hit a second turning point in the history of CubeSats, where they switch from novelties to actually-useful missions? (The preliminary answer: maybe.) 2) Expand the study to consider other small spacecraft mission types: specifically the professionally-built CubeSats. We will perform side-by-side comparison of the two. The results will be used in a brave but ultimately naive attempt to predict the next few years in university-class and CubeSat-class flights: numbers, capabilities, and mix of participants.

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Aug 14th, 4:00 PM

The Long-Threatened Flood of University-Class Spacecraft (and CubeSats) Has Come: Analyzing the Numbers

We have covered the statistical history of university-class small satellites for nearly a decade, revisiting the numbers every two years. In every previous paper, we have promised/threatened that the number of university-class missions will increase, only to spend the next paper explaining why that flood has not happened – but is definitely going to happen next year. This year, at last, we can break the cycle: the flood of university-class spacecraft has come, in the form of CubeSats; more than 30 are known to be manifested for 2013, with equal (or greater) numbers for 2014. For this paper, we will revise previous studies in two ways: 1) Include the results of the past two years, which will show a continued upward trend in the number of universityclass missions, a continued downward trend in the size of the spacecraft, and a not-so-continued dominance of the flagship universities. Have we hit a second turning point in the history of CubeSats, where they switch from novelties to actually-useful missions? (The preliminary answer: maybe.) 2) Expand the study to consider other small spacecraft mission types: specifically the professionally-built CubeSats. We will perform side-by-side comparison of the two. The results will be used in a brave but ultimately naive attempt to predict the next few years in university-class and CubeSat-class flights: numbers, capabilities, and mix of participants.