Revolutionizing Launch Access for Small Satellites
Developing a standard Launch Unit for mid-sized smallsats will enable payloads to be configured quickly, efficiently, and at a reduced cost. As it becomes possible to swap satellites into predefined launch configurations, more launch opportunities will become available for everyone.
Improving Access to Space through Small Satellite Standards
Compact satellites often need to hitch a ride with larger payloads sponsored by any combination of government, civil, and commercial entities. Ridesharing on payload adapters have helped to make better use of cargo space; however, integration issues remain as each small payload has bespoke size and engineering requirements. Developing a standard Launch Unit for mid-sized smallsats will enable payloads to be configured quickly, efficiently, and at a reduced cost.
thoughts about Launch-U?
Like the CubeSat and ESPA-class standards, Launch-U aims to be adopted as the industry norm for mid-sized small satellites. To make this standard a reality, we are requesting feedback from the entire SmallSat community. To share your thoughts, please click the button below.
Setting the Standard: Launch Units for the SmallSat Era
Over the next ten years, more than 6,000 smallsats are estimated to launch. As the market grows, launch remains the main bottleneck to timely and affordable access to space. Currently, most smallsats rideshare as secondary payloads when there is available space in a launch vehicle and every deployment must be customized for the secondary payload. A SmallSat launch standard would standardize both the physical properties of the SmallSat (size, volume, vibrational modes) as well as the mechanical and electrical connections to the launch vehicle. This paper explores the benefits of defining a launch standard for medium-class smallsats and provides options for the standard's development.