Tuesday, 16 January 2007: 4:15 PM
New Low-cost Microsatellites for Possible Space Weather Applications
210A (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
The process of placing a satellite in orbit has traditionally been slow and expensive. Launch vehicles, and launch processing costs 10's of millions of dollars. Satellite buses, usually one of a kind special purpose robots designed to withstand the harsh environment of space and requiring sufficient redundancy to continue functioning for years without repair or replenishment, further increase the total cost. Expensive sensors are usually designed to be robust and comprehensive to take advantage of the infrequent opportunity for spaceflight. Finally, a $100M+ on-orbit investment necessitates constant, round-the-clock monitoring to ensure continued operation, which in turn requires a staff of operators. There are several initiatives in academia, the DoD and industry to break down the traditional approaches to launch, bus, instruments and operations to dramatically lower the overall cost of spaceflight and the time interval to get to orbit. If these initiatives are successful they would provide significant opportunities to monitor the space environment with more platforms, increased numbers and types of sensors - on much shorter timescales. This talk will discuss new approaches for reduced cost and more frequent spaceflight and describe options for new methods to study the space environment from space.