Are Small Satellites the Key to Rapid Responsive Space?

Small satellites have the potential to play a key role in realizing sustainable Rapid Responsive Space Missions.

Space systems' orbital dynamics follow Keplerian & Newtonian laws which are not readily amenable to rapid & quick unscheduled orbit trajectory modifications intended to address emerged exigent operational requirements. However, numerous space mission applications desire that option to swiftly address such emerged exigent operational needs .e.g. disaster monitoring, debris avoidance, on-orbit astronaut rescue missions etc.

Areas of Investigation

1. Rapid Responsive Space (RRS) mission nomenclature and taxonomy.

2. Identification and classification of RRS mission stimuli.

3. Rapid Responsive Space mission architectures.

4. Small satellite technologies for Rapid Responsive Space missions.

5. Development of a generic, integrated software solution-space that characterizes the formulation and implementation of a desired Rapid Responsive Space mission.

Rapid Responsive Space Stimuli

1. Sustained attention

2. Contact Avoidance Maneuvers

3. Unscheduled Rendezvous with/without Docking

4. Orbital Position Recovery


RRSM Realized via a Geosynchronus Satellite Traid
Interplanetary Geosynchronous satellite triad

Rapid Responsive Mission Needs Classification

Rapid Responsive Space Mission Architecture Solutions


1. Funding from Air Force (20k) for capstone project (8 students) on rapid & agile real-time reconfiguration spacecraft based on mission requirements.

2. Article published as part of this effort. P. Waswa, and S. Redkar, "A survey of space mission architecture and system specialization"

Key Accomplishments

We have so far;

1. Conceived  Rapid Responsive Space Missions (RRSM) nomenclature and taxonomy.

2. Categorized RRSM stimuli. 

3. Conceived 7 RRSM baseline mission architectures.

4. Developed a small satellite technologies and components database.


Subsequently, we aim to develop the software too to design RRSM in addition to designing an illustrative RRSM application mission.


Sangram RedkarAssistant Professor, The Polytechnic School, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Peter WaswaPhD Candidate, Systems Engineering, The Polytechnic School, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Sebastian Garcia PeraltaUndergraduate Student, Mechanical Engineering, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Aruj Rajinder SharmaUndergraduate Student, Mechanical Engineering, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

Classroom Research

Expanding Capabilities & Applications of Small Satellites to New Frontiers