The Large Benefits of Small-Satellite Missions

Daniel N. Baker, S. Pete Worden
2008 EOS  
Small spacecraft missions play a key and compelling role in space-based scientific and engineering programs. They have been responsible for greatly reducing the time to obtain science and technology results. Small spacecraft missions tend to be flexible and can thereby be extremely responsive to new opportunities or technological needs. The shorter development times for smaller missions can reduce overall costs and can thus provide welcome budgetary options for highly constrained space
more » ... In many cases, we would contend that 80% (or more) of program goals can be achieved for 20% of the cost using small spacecraft solutions. In its 2000 assessment study (Space Studies Board, 2000), the National Academy of Sciences Space Studies Board said: "What stands out prominently is the professional vitality and community involvement small missions can offer. Researchers who might have waited a lifetime to analyze data are stimulated, freshened, and sharpened when given the opportunity to conduct high-priority, high-quality science in a shorter period. In turn, these programs afford undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to participate in and experience the complex and organic nature of science, from proposal to development, to analysis, to publication."
doi:10.1029/2008eo330001 fatcat:jkfik7pxyjbwzfegujk5qr3hua