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The United States is experiencing a renaissance in interest in space due to the advent of new lowercostsmall spacecraft. New launch entrants, such as Interorbital Systems, promise to lower launchcost levels. Many developers also benefit from free-to-developer launch services from NASA or theESA. Unfortunately, existing commercial off the shelf COTS CubeSat hardware is priced based onamortization of design costs across low-sales volume. A lack of trained staff in any one of the numerousdisciplines required for spacecraft design or other resources required for in-house developmentrestricts entry into the small satellite industry to those who can afford expensive COTShardware or pay for significant design expenses. With entry-level satellite hardware still priced inthe six-figure range, limited market growth is expected even as the average CubeSat launch costcontinues to decline. A new archetype could lower barriers to entry for building small satellites. Afree, public-domain architecture for building a small satellite could allow low-cost, in-house satellitedevelopment. Under this paradigm, the expenses for initiating a small satellite program arelimited to component and launch vehicle costs. The proposed framework allows for broad accessto small satellite hardware, greatly increasing the size of the small satellite developer community.In the context of the small satellite market, freely offering plans to construct an entry-level satellitewill court new non-traditional actors into building space hardware for launch on commercialand government small satellite launchers. The low-cost, high flight rate possible with the nextgeneration of launch systems affords operators the freedom to experiment and innovate in a risktolerantenvironment. Successfully demonstrating products and services utilizing low-risk, publicdomainplans will stimulate demand for mature and more capable flight systems in the retailmarketplace. If technical schools, community colleges, universities, small businesses and evenamateurs can enter into the small satellite ecosystem, at an affordable entrance price, a positivespiral of increasing demand and decreasing cost may be created over time. A free, public domainsatellite architecture may, thus, open the door to sustained growth and commercial opportunityfor the small satellite industry.


CubeSat, Small Spacecraft, Educational Economics, Market Growth

Cite this paper

Nervold, A.K., Berk, J., Straub, J. and Whalen, D. 2016 A Pathway to Small Satellite Market Growth. Advances in Aerospace Science and Technology, 1, 14-20.

Autor: Anders Kose Nervold1, Joshua Berk2, Jeremy Straub3, David Whalen2

Fuente: http://www.scirp.org/


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