SPC was selected to investigate the potential path for reducing the government’s reliance on a few large, expensive satellite platforms and migrate toward smaller, less expensive, and perhaps multiple satellite platforms with similar capabilities. The company was contracted by the TTO Office Director to perform the Small Satellite study effort. SPC performed the study under DARPA’s Fast Access Spacecraft Testbed (FAST) program, which seeks to improve the DoD’s ability to rapidly deploy and reposition satellites, as well as monitor the geosynchronous environment. FAST also aims to permit responsive launch capabilities including deployment of small geosynchronous satellites on small launch vehicles. The program demonstrated a suite of critical technologies, including high efficiency solar cells, sunlight concentrating arrays, large deployable structures, and ultra light weight solar arrays.
SPC’s team of technical experts gathered information from relevant commercial and government players in the small satellite community, performed extensive background research and data mining, and prepared and revised charts and briefings detailing the study’s findings in relation to the reduction of construction and launch costs. Members of the SPC team qualified in laser and optical systems performed analyses for the resolution and range of imager performer parameters. This included a multi-parameterized design analysis of high resolution active laser imaging concepts, such as laser parameters of power, efficiency, and wave length; transceiver parameters including aperture size, telescope design, and sensor array; and system parameters such as overall system size and weight. Although created specifically for the FASTEyes effort, the resulting documentation is of direct relevance to the larger field of space exploration.