Most of the CubeSats in orbit today are dedicated to performing tasks related to Earth observation and communication. It seems that these two categories will continue to dominate in the coming years. While the largest increase will occur in communications satellites, the growth in scientific (non-EO) missions is not negligible (from 10% to 20%) given that the estimated number of satellites to be launched will multiply further. Notably, until 2017 there were only 5 astronomy and interplanetary missions in the field, by 2018 only 14 nano / micro satellites were launched at non-LEO targets.
The Beyond Earth orbit is the domain of civilian agencies that have historically been reluctant to invest in small satellites for the sake of credibility. However, as four nano / micro satellites moved beyond orbits in 2018 alone, this is more than what happened in the previous 5 years, and 35 more are expected to be launched over the next 5 years. Naturally, most of them target the moon, but some that cannot be ignored will be devoted to interplanetary missions. As in other fields, initially all astronomical or heliophysical missions are run by universities, and the first NASA JPL mission (ASTERIA) was not launched until 2017. Achieving cutting-edge astronomy with CubeSats has been made possible thanks to advances in precision marking, communication technology, and deployables, among others.
Shows main astronomy and past and planned missions beyond Earth. In addition, many of these tasks can be deployed to larger, larger attitude determination and control systems (ADCS). In addition, 6 U forms, the smallest that can accommodate solar panels, antennas and also telescope optics
It also shows that it is based on the factor. It is also noteworthy that so far there have been no CubeSat missions funded on the IR. Because thermal stability and detector cooling require cryo-coolers for CubeSats, which have not yet been developed for astrophysics due to power and space limitations.
It is worth noting that a large number of CubeSats launched to the Moon in 2020 correspond to the Artemis-1 mission, previously known as Expedition Mission-1. Thirteen low-cost CubeSat missions on the Artemis-1 test flight were competitively selected as secondary loads, all in a 6 U form factor. The CubeSats selected are as follows:
• Ay el feneri,
• South Pole of the Moon,
• Asteroid close to Earth,
• BioSentinel (carrying the first living things into deep space since 1972),
• SkyFire (LunIR),
• Lunar IceCube,
• CubeSat for solar particles (Cusp),
• Lunar polar hydrogen mapper (LunaH Map),
• Cislunar explorers,
• Earth escape explorer (CU-E 3),
• Tool spindles,
Speaking of interplanetary missions, NASA launched a fixed landing craft called InSight to Mars on May 5, 2018, and landed on Mars on November 26, 2018. Both MarCO-A and MarCO-B managed to pass by Mars by transferring data from InSight to Earth while landing on Mars. It shows a superior view of Marcos with the reflection array used for communication purposes.
In addition to the classical astronomy, moon and Mars missions mentioned, CubeSats finds its way to other bodies of the solar system today. There are also suggestions to send them to Venus (CUVE mission), Deimos and Phobos. Also shows asteroids (PRISM and PROME missions), comets (PrOVE mission) or Jupiter mission, LEO and beyond-LEO CubeSat exploration attempts.
CubeSats Results and Ways To Follow
Since its conception in 1999, a disruptive innovation has been produced in CubeSats. From simple applications (mostly educational) below a market, they continued to rise steadily and eventually replaced the established mid-sized competing satellites. However, CubeSats cannot replace all major space missions, as the laws of physics cannot be changed. That is, large apertures and focal lengths are required to collect weak signals and achieve large angular resolution. However, CubeSats find their niche in many Earth observing, astronomical, and communication applications where short revisit times or even continuous monitoring are required.
Early CubeSats typically have short lifetimes (several months) once in orbit, but with increased ground testing and additional redundancies their lifetimes have been significantly increased to 4-5 years in some cases. Despite all these remarkable advances, many technologies still need to be developed to take advantage of CubeSats’ full potential. The most demanding technologies and applications especially require increased communication performance, reliability, thermal stability and calibration accuracy. In the field of earth observation, future developments in nanosate sensors are likely to occur, and some examples in the field of passive microwave sensors are as follows:
Miniature microwave and millimeter wave radiometers for weather applications such as the MiniRad in the constellation of the Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS) by Orbital Micro Systems,
GNSS-R devices with real-time processing for target detection / identification or larger satellite, with raw data collection and on-site processing to optimize processing to the target, as planned in FMPL-3, on FSSCat, as uplink bandwidths are available. The evolution of FMPL-2,
In the area of passive VNIR / TIR hyperspectral imagers, viewers contain more bands, but advanced image compression algorithms to minimize the amount of information to be downloaded, and artificial intelligence data to download only the extracted information instead of raw,
Also, the calibration of both needs to be improved to improve the quality of scientific data. Due to the power and antenna size requirements, active microwave sensors, for example, radar altimeters and SARs, likely remain in the domain of mini and microsates, and active optical Sensor technology (i.e. lidars) develops in small satellites in the medium term. NASA also takes the lead in the field of astronomy and especially heliophysics. NASA reported in Heliophysics Small Explorers Program in 2017, there are many designed programs and they are as follows:
• Energetic Mass Launch Navigator Mechanisms (MEME-X),
Focusing Optical X-ray Solar Imager (FOXSI),
• Multi Slot Sun Navigator (MUSE),
• Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamic Reconnaissance Satellites (TRACERS),
Polarimeter for Combining Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH),
Atmospheric Waves Experiment (AWE),
• Contribution of the USA to the THOR mission (THOR – USA),
Extreme ultraviolet (COSIE) Coronal Spectrographic Imager
Solar Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) mission concept, which is a space-based sparse array,
However, in August 2019, NASA selected two proposals to demonstrate SmallSat technologies to study interplanetary space. These two recommendations are as follows:
Science Enabling Technologies for Heliphysics (SETH), a set of waves and other particles from the sun as well as neutral atoms demonstrate two technologies, an optical communication technology, and an experiment to detect solar energy,
• The Solar Cruiser, which will install an approximately 18,000 square meter solar sail and a coronagraph instrument that provides simultaneous measurements of the sun’s magnetic field structure, and the velocity recommendation of coronal mass pulses or CMEs.
Writer: Ozlem Guvenc Agaoglu