Session

Swifty Session II

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

This paper quantifies trends in small satellite utilization, reliability, and capability using a database of all small satellites (<500 >kg) launched from 2009 through 2018. By analyzing the full small satellite industry over time, this chapter will identify trends in implementation, success rates, and the reasons why some missions have failed. It will also address how to improve future missions to maintain the benefits of the lower cost space element while still achieving complex, multidimensional missions.

This study identified several trends that illustrate the current state of the industry: 87% of small satellites with completed missions launched in the last decade were successful, including 90% of satellites launched in the last three years. 31% are still actively operating within their design life, including 52% launched in the last three years. Launch failures claimed 5% of small satellites. For those satellites that survive launch, roughly 4% fail within the first year. Mission-ending failures are most likely to be attributed to the communication subsystem (26%) or power system (18%). Unattributed failures account for another 23%, with the other subsystems accounting for the remainder. The 6U form factor saw three-fold growth in launch numbers in 2018 over all previous years combined.

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Aug 1st, 12:00 AM

Small Satellite Trending & Reliability 2009-2018

Utah State University, Logan, UT

This paper quantifies trends in small satellite utilization, reliability, and capability using a database of all small satellites (<500>kg) launched from 2009 through 2018. By analyzing the full small satellite industry over time, this chapter will identify trends in implementation, success rates, and the reasons why some missions have failed. It will also address how to improve future missions to maintain the benefits of the lower cost space element while still achieving complex, multidimensional missions.

This study identified several trends that illustrate the current state of the industry: 87% of small satellites with completed missions launched in the last decade were successful, including 90% of satellites launched in the last three years. 31% are still actively operating within their design life, including 52% launched in the last three years. Launch failures claimed 5% of small satellites. For those satellites that survive launch, roughly 4% fail within the first year. Mission-ending failures are most likely to be attributed to the communication subsystem (26%) or power system (18%). Unattributed failures account for another 23%, with the other subsystems accounting for the remainder. The 6U form factor saw three-fold growth in launch numbers in 2018 over all previous years combined.