There is big news on the small satellite front. From super-secret agencies to the U.S. military, academia, private firms, world space agencies, and NASA, ultra-small satellites are the big thing.
In sizing up “smallsats,” there are a range of classifications in the less-than-500- kilogram department, be they minisatellites, microsatellites, nanosatellites, picosatellites, palm-size CubeSats, even the diminutive Femto satellite, weighing in at less than 100 grams.
Cornell University has begun to delve into a postage stamp-size “satellite on a chip” design, called Sprite, envisioning a swarm of these tiny probes exploring planetary atmospheres for organic compounds.
“The knowledge of how to make and use smallsats has passed the tipping point,” Matt Bille told SPACE.com. “It exists worldwide and has fostered a global generation of satellite builders and engineers. It used to be only a few organizations could build a satellite. Now, a smart teenager with a CubeSat kit and a soldering iron is a space agency. We’ve only begun to grasp the implications of that.”
“The age of microspacecraft is on solid ground now.”
Source: Space.com - Small Satellites Prompt Big Ideas for Next 25 Years