Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Smallsat Conference is coming

A highlight of the year for me (when I get there: I can't always make it) is the Conference on Small Satellites, held in August at Utah State University in Logan, UT.  For over 25 years, this meeting has gathered the experts in smallsats, microsats, and nanosats from around the world.  
Microsats (to lump everything under one name) were tiny scientific or amateur satellites until the 1980s and early 90s, when advancing technology and funding from DARPA sparked the first wave of new applications. The MacSat-2 that delivered logistics orders to and from a Marine force in Operation Desert Storm was an example.  Today, there are applications for licensing for constellations totaling (this is not a misprint) 18,000 satellites.  High schools around the world have build CubeSats, those endlessly useful 10cm-cubes.  Continuing technical advances are behind this (ask any engineer in the 1990s if it was possible to get 3m imagery from a 5kg satellite: they would have laughed at you) and don' show any signs of hitting a wall.    
So I'll be there this year, talking about the use of microsats as a possible solution for improving the tracking of whales.  It will, I'm sure, be a lot of fun. It always is.  

Army SMDC communications microsat (5 kg) 

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