Business Should Be Interested in Developing Small Satellites

27 november 2015

‘Developing small satellites should be based on principles different from those used in developing large satellites,’ said Kirill Borisov, the Head of the Department of automatic space systems and complexes of the Russian Federal Space Agency, at the Round Table ‘Effective Use of Small Satellites in Social, Economic and Scientific Purposes.’

‘Advantages of small satellites over large ones are in cheaper costs and shorter development terms. That is why business should be interested in their creation, and a large number of enterprises can be engaged in this development,’ said Mr Borisov. According to him, the Russian Federal Space Agency set up two working groups to deal with problems’ analysis and collect proposals on regulating development of devices of this class. As for their disadvantages, they are obvious, in his opinion. ‘These are the inability to duplicate subsystems, which can be carried out in large satellites, and the short lifetime,’ said the expert.

Mr Borisov said that the GOST R 53802-2010 adopted in 2010 defined terms and concepts in the field of space systems and complexes. ‘The GOST contains a classification of satellites based on their mass, so a small satellite is a device which weighs less than a tonne,’ said the expert.

According to Alexander Krylov, the Director of SCC Skolkovo, the state of the Russian orbit group of small satellites is critical. ‘The customer, the manufacturer and the operator of the orbit group are not separated, and the process of designing, developing and implementing space systems is unbalanced,’ said the expert. Moreover, there is no systematic approach in the sector of constructing space systems and the quality control of produced small satellites is very low. According to Mr Krylov, in order to stabilize the situation it is necessary to create a state coordinating body for developing satellite systems based on small satellites, to hold an open expert discussion ‘FKP-2025’ and to revise objectives and financing of systems based on small satellites.

During the event a multifunctional space system ‘Paradigma’ created on the basis of the orbit network of small satellites was presented. Experts noted that the system opened up the possibility of creating a ‘space web’ that could make Russia one of the leading countries in the sector if information.