Are Small Satellites the Key to Rapid Responsive Space?

Exploring feasible means of incorporating a systems flexibility in the space mission architecture intended to accomplish unplanned mission dynamical re-tasking aimed to rapidly address emerged exigent need during mission operation phase. Moreover, can small satellites be part of this solution?

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


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"


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

Classroom Research

Expanding Capabilities & Applications of Small Satellites to New Frontiers