Smallsat propulsion is undergoing a revolution

New Space startups are bringing innovative in-space propulsion systems to a satellite market that’s being rapidly redefined by small satellites. Advancements in propulsion systems have given rise to a fresh class of thrusters that are smaller, more efficient, cost less and are easily scalable. “What we’re seeing right now is a reasonably large disruption in the propulsion community and in the satellite industry,” said Dr. Alex Reissner, founder and CEO

Launch U standard could help ease launch bottleneck for small sats

The Aerospace Corp’s proposed standards for satellites under 500 kg could help reduce the launch bottleneck for the rideshare market, if the industry can reach consensus on it. Aerospace Corp released its Launch Unit (Launch-U) small satellite form factor proposal earlier this month. The standard is the result of a year’s worth of work between Aerospace Corp, government officials, satellite manufacturers, launch brokers and launch vehicle providers, including SpaceX, ULA,

With smallsat boom, NASA launches pilot Earth science data program

NASA will begin a pilot program this spring to determine whether the agency wants to purchase Earth observation data from the leagues of private small satellites that are orbiting the planet. Twin trends of decreased costs to access space and advancements made in satellite technology has spurred considerable growth in the private smallsat sector. Meanwhile, funding for NASA's own Earth observation operations is increasingly under threat by the Trump administration,